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Okay is the work of Fremont, California’s Marty Anderson, a unique and incredible talent whose approach to composition is akin to a kaleidoscope run through a distortion pedal.

Marty’s previous output for small labels like Frenetic, Temporary Residence and 54-40 Or Fight have earned him a small but devoted following. After two albums fronting the band Dilute, two collaborating with Kenseth Thibideau (Pinback, Rumah Sakhit) as Howard Hello and a collection of older solo material under the name Jacques Kopstein, Marty created the Okay persona, bent upon shaping his more experimental inclinations into pop songs.

Marty has a chronic stomach disorder, a rare strain of a not uncommon (yet no less unfortunate) disease which confounds his physicians and keeps him somewhat confined to his home and hooked-up to an I.V. almost daily. The disease (a rare form of Crohn’s) had been under some control in the past, but during what would become Dilute’s last tour in late 2001, things took a turn for the worse. Utterly housebound in his Oakland apartment and destined to packup his home studio and move back into his parent’s home in Fremont, Marty set to work on his new solo effort in 2002.

Outside, the world had become far more chaotic. In his own life, a long term relationship was coming to an end. America’s role in the world had changed. Marty’s role in America had changed. America itself had changed. High Road is concept record, just as much about personal relationships as about the state of this country. How does the world stage unfold to a man, confined to his home, in a state of chronic physical pain and discomfort? Is patriotism a reflection of the person or the environment? Is it the personal discovery of the soul of a nation or a communal denial of it? Love and distress, hope and despair, helplessness and empowerment, passion and apathy. Employing the simple and repetitive lyricism of the pop form, Okay expresses the shockingly unexplored perspectives of the citizen as citizen, not partisan, in a country at war. In a political climate where even discussions of unity are expressed in divisive terminology, he takes the voice of one man (or another) and sings with the voice of the nation.

‘Where am I? How am I? How are we? Is this right? Why should I care?’ There is a very honest approach to these inquiries, the plainspoken directness of a personal dialogue that never descends into the pandering or didacticism that pervades nearly every other examination of the subject matter.

Yet even as one dwells on the lyrical content and themes behind the record, the music that unfolds beneath these ideas is nothing short of breathtaking. Guitars, keyboards and drums are layered across each other in a tapestry textured with sounds of boiling, whirring, burbling, whispering and clicking. Gentle chords collide into each other and romp away together like some spontaneous rendezvous.

Melodies and rhythms chase after lyrical content, falling out of step in composition in order to illustrate theme. A gorgeous sonic picture is painted from a palette of chaos. This is three dimensional composition and four dimensional sound. And then, of course, there’s Marty’s voice. If you’ve never heard this voice before, you’ll never forget it. The tendency in describing such a voice is to rely on thosen handy, easy-to-reach, bottom-shelf adjectives like "croaking" or "weird".

The truth is that while Marty’s voice is extremely unusual, it is its qualities of warmth and depth, the suggestion of an aged wistfulness and gentle humanity, which truly distinguish it. One thinks of a mute whose heart was forced to evolve into his larynx to speak. One thinks of deeply personal letters written on ancient parchment read aloud by the parchment itself. The voice and music of Okay not only defy comparison by eluding reference to individual singers or bands: pick any three bands or singers and you’ll still be grasping at straws. Finally, there’s the trivial controversy of two albums of material being released separately (yes, in two packages) yet simultaneously.

Marty’s live backing band may include (based on availability) members of Deerhoof, Pinback, Lazarus and Tarentel as well as his former Dilute bandmate and engineer of recent renown, Jay Pellicci.
Marty Anderson – guitar/piano/bass/vocals
Jay Pellicci – drums
2006 Okay "Low Road" - RuminanCe
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