Morex Optimo emerged out of the recent explosion of innovative Brooklyn-based rock but, from the outset, maintained a distance from that scene and resisted easy categorization. While the indie scene rapidly became a caricature of itself, Morex Optimo's musical identity -- focused on experimentation and process -- was constantly metamorphosing. Their first album and subsequent shows attest to a startling evolution as the band repeatedly reinvented itself. That capacity for self-reinvention has been crucial to Morex Optimo's continued relevance.
By the time of the Brooklyn music renaissance, Williamsburg had long been a hotbed of artistic activity, spawning some of the nation's most innovative artists, galleries, and writers. Like their contemporaries, Morex Optimo had roots in this street-level do it yourself art tradition. Drummer Heather Wagner (a conceptual new media artist) was introduced to bassist Yuri Weber (an accomplished San Francisco area musician) and guitarist Kristofer (priest, poet, and songwriter) through artist Erwin Redl at one of several influential openings at the Pierogi 2000 gallery. The first Morex Optimo lineup was in place.
Morex Optimo began playing dates in New York, immediately gravitating to a pared-down, experimental approach. A gig at the Mercury Lounge in 2004 proved auspicious. Morex Optimo was introduced to Martin Bisi, who had a long history working with some of New York's most influential bands and artists, (among them Brian Eno, Sonic Youth, Bill Laswell), who immediately agreed to help them record their first project.
2004's amphetamine-paced Beast of Reflection found Morex Optimo taking indie rock and punk to extremes by searing through the genre's penchant for irony with a direct and impassioned sincerity, and by organically introducing elements of tension and abstraction. Beast of Reflection's 12 highly original tracks compressed and twisted rock into often jagged, taut shapes. The album met with critical acclaim and Morex Optimo went on tour in northeastern US and Europe in support of it.
If Beast of Reflection saw Morex Optimo exploring the possibilities offered by the recording studio, on 3 Songs they took fuller advantage of that environment. With producer Jay Braun (Band of Susans, The Negatones, Kapow, Mooney Suzuki) stepping in with a strong directorial hand, and Yuri departing the band, the band moved into a more focused, direct approach to their material. The result is an expansive, textured set of songs with a more pronounced melodic orientation. 3 Songs is Morex Optimo's most accomplished statement to date and the group seems poised for success.
Morex Optimo's live concerts are impulsive explosions of cerebral and gutsy rock and roll and a refreshingly sincere earnestness.