A native of Oakville, Ontario, Al Okada was amongst the founding members of King Cobb Steelie. Formed during university, the indie success of the band in Canada gave Al the chance to experience both the studio and live performance setting. After being with the band for seven years, Al became clear of the new direction he wanted for his music. His resume includes music placement in a HBO film, XChange, as well as a Dutch TV film and TV shows including PSI Factor and Mutant X. A Brian Eno fanatic, a lover of Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch's directorial styles, a respectful mimic of all three creeps into Al's music.
Dead Stars Al Okada’s latest project as Microbunny, is at once a showcase of his musical diversity (he plays almost all of the instruments!) and a forage for new polyrhythmic heights. This collection is meaningfully whimsical, deep in texture and demanding of the ear's attention. Al’s belief is that the musical compositions be reflective of his playing and personality. Although modern in capture, the tracks are organically electronic. Dead Stars is devoid of robotics, devoid of airbrushing, Al opting instead to allow the freshness of human inaccuracy to epitomize the end result. A more enduring and time-consuming process, it ensures that the music has an identity all its own.
With the provocative vocal stylings of Tamara Williamson, Al and Tamara have found a comfortable succinctness that incorporates Tamara's voice as a tool that at times provides melody and at other times simply accents the instruments. Instead of concentrating on lyrics and verbiage, the listener is free to inflect their own ideas regarding sentiment.
For live performances, Microbunny adds a much greater humanizing element to the music with the addition of upright bass player King Kong Girio (aka Mitch Girio) and drummer Reverend Cino Evil (aka Sam Cino). By using a technique of live loop triggering, the band is free to improvise with little constraint, unlike many electronic "live" performances driven solely by computer sequencing or recorded music. This approach earned the band top prize in the CBC 2002 Big Break Contest for Ontario out of 700 entries and a live television appearance on the CBC show ZeD.
Be sure to check out Microbunny’s live trip-hop, slow jazz vibe at the Toronto Record Release, Feb 28th at the El Mocambo. More dates in Ontario (including Guelph-March 4th, London-March 26th and Hamilton-March 27th) to follow.