“A cold drizzly Thursday in Albany, NY, with bold sizzly funk to play at the Low Beat, a new-old joint in between the places most people go… But this show wasn’t for most people. It was a show for cerebral funk-junkies and young turks, looking for a sound to wrap their heart around.
The opener, a local band I have come to adore, was Oobleck, with a gooey, stick to your ears, oom-pah beat resonant of their name’s Seussical origins . Many faves from the two albums I already have (“Tell Your Mom I said Hi” and “Rise & Shine”) kept my toes tapping for the first half of the show, when suddenly, they surprised me with some bluesy guitar riffs intertwining with their funk-jazz horns up front in a new number, “Gotta Start Somewhere,” making the motion rise from my toes into my body. They have shown themselves to have a keen composition that both evolves and revolves over the time that they play together.” – Peter Abbott, Sound and Silence, November 9, 2014
“An annual street fest in North Troy is set for Saturday — and a local band with an unusual style is set to be among the headliners for the day-long event.
Freedom Festival 2014, sponsored by the Sanctuary for Independent Media, will be held at its outdoor venue, Freedom Square, located on a triangular parcel where Fifth and Sixth Avenues meet at 101st Street.
“We mean freedom in the sense of freedom of expression,” Sanctuary director Steve Pierce said. “We’ve only been doing it for a few years. A lot of outdoor festivals are driven a lot by a commercial focus, and are driven a lot by consuming alcohol. Not to knock other festivals, but we’re trying to do things with more of a niche appeal that brings the folks out.”
Starting at 1 p.m. and continuing until sunset, the fest will include a plethora of workshops and activities. There’s a community meal featuring barbecue and “culled food” among other fare. Two bands will provide music — Brooklyn-based PitchBlak Brass Band, a horn-based hip-hop ensemble, and Troy’s own Oobleck — whose members boast the following description of their music on their website: “funked-out-afro-rock-grunge-dub-whatever.”
“That’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to describing it in a few words,” said Audrey Van Genechten, co-founder of the five-member ensemble with her husband, Kevin. “We all have different musical backgrounds and different musical interests.”
Oobleck is their ever-morphing common ground.” — Phil Drew, Troy Record, June 4, 2014
Reviews of Rise + Shine:
… The all-instrumental Capital Region quintent are unabashed about their use of syncopated grooves and feel-good horn improvisations. But they’re not in the business of jamming them down your throat.
Take, for instance, Rise + Shine, the group’s new conceptual full-length, forged this February as part of the RPM Challenge. The disc is a literal day-in-the-life. Over eight tracks, the players awake, head off to work, get home, kick back, and ready themselves to do it all over again. Sure, there’s a party in there, or, more significantly there’s that surfing-through-the-bullshit vibe that funk is good for, but it doesn’t subscribe to the idea that NoLA-style improvisation is only valid after hours … — Josh Potter, Metroland, May 2, 2013
This 6 piece horn band plays originals that makes it hard to just sit and listen to. If you don’t get an irresistible urge to move your feet, you probably have no soul. — Daniel Ross, CRUMBs Blog, The Times Union, May 5, 2011
The story behind the name:
Audrey Van Genechten, trumpet, percussion: “For Oobleck’s naming I really can’t remember a more painful process than the band-name-change-game with six very different people.
“We had already been playing under a different name for quite some time and had decided we needed something shorter and something that better described our group. After months of brainstorming with nothing really hitting us our sax player Scott decided to google ‘weird word’ or some such, and one of the words that came up was Oobleck.
“Oobleck is two things, the mysterious green precipitation from the Dr. Seuss story ‘Bartholomew and the Oobleck’, and it’s a mixture of 1/2 corn starch, 1/2 water that can act as both a solid or a liquid depending on what force acts upon it. If you happen to make a pan of oobleck and place it on a subwoofer, it does some pretty crazy things (YouTube it).
“It turned out to be the only name that stood out and that we all agreed upon, and in retrospect it’s a pretty good name for a six-piece instrumental funked-out-Afro-rock-alt-dub-grunge band.” — Arts Talk, The Times Union, April 25, 2012
Reviews of Tell Your Mom I Said Hi:
Anchored by the rhythm section of drummer Kevin Van Genechten and bassist Nick Wallas, the groove is the undeniable focus on the six-piece band’s self-produced debut album Tell Your Mom I Said Hi that was home-recorded in a living room. Or perhaps I should the grooves, because Oobleck brings the funk from a variety of different angles on this eight-song batch of original instrumental tunes. Sometimes they pump out the stone-cold soul-funk of the JBs. Sometimes they veer into the Afro-funk of Fela Kuti. And sometimes – especially on the album closers “Funk Sucker” and “Waiting for Ryan” – they head off into Frank Zappa’s Grand Wazoo territory.
As they write in their band bio, “When we say funk, we actually mean funked-out-afro-rock-grunge-dub-whatever.”
And it all works marvelously. The horns – trumpeter Audrey Van Genechten, baritone saxophonist Ryan Coffi and tenor saxman Scott Vorwald – make for a tight, potent ensemble, punctuating the in-the-pocket grooves with a precise, almost percussive-like attack. And when they break off into high-flying solo mode, they each get the job done just fine, too. — Nippertown! 10-12-2012
The band released the album [Tell Your Mom I Said Hi] this week, and we’ve enjoyed spinning through it. We must warn you, though: there’s some possibility it might induce chair dancing. — All Over Albany, 10-4-2012