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'The Ocropolis III': Hear Oneida's Seven-Hour Improvisation

Members of Chavez join Oneida during the performance of The Ocropolis III. (Gisel Florez for NPR)

No other event over the festival weekend embodied the spirit of All Tomorrow's Parties more than Oneida's seven-hour improvisation, titled The Ocropolis III. Featuring guest musicians from Portishead, Boredoms, Yo La Tengo, Chavez, Tall Firs, Ceramic Dog, Invisible Circle and Guardian Alien, The Ocropolis III not only pulled in the ATP community, but also found the loose connections between these outer-sound musicians in the name of exploration and some kind of madness.

Serious props to anyone besides members of Oneida that witnessed eight straight hours of skronky, loud, meandering and jammy improvisation. That is some kind of obscure Festivus Feat of Strength right there. Maybe The Ocropolis III is a Festivus Miracle that only reveals itself in whole, like an impressionist painting hung upside down in a dentist's office. Come in at any moment during the performance and, more than likely, there's Oneida's Kid Millions laying down some endless Kraut-rock drum beat, and maybe a woman moaning nonsense over heavily echoed oboe and noisy synths. Or maybe there's some serious Ummagumma action that borders on the best psychedelic prog album that 1971 never saw. Or maybe Kid Millions actually took a break (from what I hear, he barely got up to pee) and let some dudes drone on and on and on...

Unfortunately, I only saw about an hour of this fantastic madness in total, held down by my duty as a music journalist (ha!) to cover the lay of the ATP land. If it had been up to me, I would've become close friends with the Asbury Lanes bartenders, made a fool out of myself bowling for several hours and witnessed a droning Festivus Miracle. But, hell, now we can hear all seven hours (the ATP program says eight, but our recordings say seven) of The Ocropolis III in three parts, with a rough order of the guest musicians and times below. It's time to get lost in the jam.

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