Taking an approach to prog-rock that one might best describe as Gregorian influenced, Fracktura’s penchant for sounding as if they are jongleurs recanting tales of Gods and Goddesses of the great beyond is perhaps the group’s best asset. On Oculus, those ancient powers that be may better be channeled through fuzzy keyboards and theremin-induced guitars, but it certainly is a welcomed tribute to several eras of prog.
At times, Oculus can sound distinctively cabaret, in the sense of a cosmic longue replete with a dissonant brass section and a bar serving up absinthe. “Gold Spectrum” expresses this inherently well, with Karis Tucker’s boozy vocals weaving through the object saxophone and Bill Kruetzman-inspired drum solos.
Fractura seems to be in the business of being more involved in preparation for the prog-rock/substance-induced journey (whatever that substance may be) rather than the journey itself. One can imagine that Oculus might the music accompanying a pre-flight video for intergalactic travel in the future. As the ascension of humankind into the ethereal realm of higher powers unravels, one can hear the brooding imagery that might stem from the inner monologue of a terrified cosmonaut.
Oculus’s “Intertide,” takes on the most classically prog sound within the EP, solidifying the group’s commitment to the weird days of old. And while the final product may come out sounding more like Pentangle meets ELP, the overall aesthetic works nonetheless – creating music for a scene unfamiliar with the concept of progressive music. If nothing else, Oculus proves that prof comes in the shape of several genres and styles. One can then embrace the style through the means that comes most naturally to them.