Optiganally Yours began with Pea Hix's (formerly of Tit Wrench and Lucas & Friend) fascination with the Optigan, a keyboard manufactured in the early and mid-'70s by Mattel. An "optical organ," the Optigan stores its sounds -- which range from organs and strings to drum loops and sound effects -- on a collection of celluloid optical discs. Hix found his first Optigan in 1995 at a Salvation Army, and eventually added a dozen more to his arsenal. He recruited his friend Rob Crow (ex-Heavy Vegetable and also a member of Thingy, Pinback, and Physics) as a collaborator, and the duo's debut album, Spotlight on Optiganally Yours, arrived two years later; its blend of spare, indie pop songwriting and production and strangely lush arrangements won critical acclaim from the likes of NME, CMJ, Melody Maker, and Cool & Strange Music Mag, among other publications. The group also contributed tracks to a benefit album for East Timor and March Records' Reproductions: Songs of the Human League before releasing their second full-length, Optiganally Yours Presents: Exclusively Talentmaker!, in early 2000 on Absolutely Kosher Records. On this album the duo played the Vako Orchestron and the Chilton Talentmaker, which were slightly varied descendants of the original Optigan.
|Pea Hix, Rob Crow
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