March 26, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 93  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Microbunny: dark electronica

By Nicole D’Cruz
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
WE’RE NOT JUST ANY KIND OF BUNNY. Microbunny bring their acclaimed electronic/trip-hop/jazz fusion to Call the Office tonight.

On one hand, Al Okada, front man of Microbunny, is just like everyone else — he works a boring day job to fund his other interests in life. On the other hand, he is not like every other musician.

Okada’s overall musical journey has given him a range of experiences. In King Cobb Steelie, in which he played guitar for seven years, he was part of a collective; on Microbunny’s first album, Okada did everything except for the vocals, which were contributed by Tamara Williamson.

Okada doesn’t have a preference between the extremes because to him, they are completely different. “There are good points about both. Certainly, it is more fun for a live performance to have other people to play with, but in some ways when you are creating and writing it is nice to have total control over yourself. I find both ways exciting,” he says.

Microbunny’s sophomore release, Dead Stars, finds Okada in the middle of the two extremes. “I am presenting most of the ideas, but I am having other people play versions of what I have given them... they add another dimension to it.”

Overall, Microbunny creates music Okada describes as “dark and dreary electronica.” Listeners must be careful not to assume that dark and dreary will mean boring, or that electronica means lack of emotion. Citing directors Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch as influences, it’s obvious that invoking the imagination and setting the mood are very important to him.

The tone of Dead Stars is no different, and is very personal to Okada. “It has something to do with losing innocence and mortality. It is sort of sparked by a strange thing that happened to me, where a person I knew a long time ago died very suddenly in a car crash. This person started appearing in my dreams; I’d have mundane regular dreams and then I would just run into them. I would wake up with a feeling of ‘I am happy I remember them, and I am sad [because] I remember that they are gone.’”

But Okada doesn’t need listeners to know the full story; he likes ambiguity when it comes to his music. “I think it is important to know that the music is inspired, but the listeners don’t need to know [what inspired the artist]. There is a long lasting potency to something when it is not spelled out in black and white. Otherwise, it’s like a joke, you lose interest the more you hear it.”

This humanistic element is also important to Okada, so when Microbunny performs live, audiences aren’t presented with one man standing at a machine and pushing buttons. He has musicians with him and they offer “an exaggerated form of what is on the record. I intentionally do a number of things to make it different from what you are hearing on the record, [giving you] a reason to come out and see us.”

Microbunny plays Call the Office tonight, with guests, Alight.

 

 

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