I learn to go with the flow, once again, when Oneida decides to try something new...
Even long-time Oneida fans, trained over multiple albums to expect the unexpected, may balk at the radical minimalism of this album. Put it simply: Everything you think of as Oneida-ness is missing.
Particulars? Kid Millions, one of experimental rock's best and most distinctive drummers, has completely abandoned his kit. There are no audible drums in any of these tracks, and in the closing cut, no rhythm, no marking, even of the passage of time. You can hear Millions singing, faintly, discontinuously, as if through a helicopter rotor in "Horizon," the only track with vocals. Still, the whispery folksiness, so at odds with Oneida's pummeling propulsiveness, is nowhere in sight. Other core members are likewise disguised. Hanoi Jane who laid down the bass that drove Oneida's earlier material into infinite groove had disappeared into a miasma of electronic hum. Fat Bobby is, undoubtedly, still manning a stack of keyboards, but not with the kind of motoric, two-finger keyboard riffs that pushed "$50 Tea" and other songs over into manic overdrive. Instead, keyboard tones lie in limpid pools, one note lapping over another, with no sense of motion or urgency. If Rated O made you realize how many different sides Oneida had, Absolute II hints at as yet unexplored dimensions. We are a long, long way from "All-Arounder."