January 1st, 2014 "Flotsam and Jetsam" Review

Bart Mendoza - FYI (For Your Information article January 2014)

Atom Orr – Flotsam and Jetsam (Populuxe)
The brain child of amazing producer/multi instrumentalist Christopher Hoffee (vocals, keyboards, bass, guitars, piano, “and other such noises” it says here), with percussionist Matt Lynott (drums, marimbas, congas), Atom Orr excels at atmospheric indie rock with sixties and modern pop influences. Beautifully recorded, artfully performed, the arrangements are as inspired as the songs they frame. That said, wow, is this a diverse disc. There is a bit of an oceanic theme, so naturally there is a smidge of Brian Wilson in some cuts. But then, probably my favorite song is “Flotsam,” which at times sounds like a cross between the Moody Blues and Depeche Mode, before going all Echo and the Bunnymen. Opening and closing with vocal choir pieces that have a church like quality, the disc first gives us a McCartney/Costello-esque piano rock tune, “Rise,” before offering up a loungy cocktail jazz / rock hybrid, “Sea Horses Forever.” There is a recasting of the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” that is a worthy listen, but truth be told, it isn’t as good as some of these originals. The sonic adventures continue via the rap/rock track, “Traveling at the Speed of If.” I don’t give stars in my reviews, but if I did, these guys would get an extra one just for their song titles. Acoustic-led “Until the Day” wraps up the music proper before a vocal workout that leads us back to the album’s beginning. Hoffee has churned out a multitude of wonderful musical creations with a multitude of different groups and artists over the past few decades. This new, excellent disc merely confirms his status as one of San Diego’s best songwriters and producers.

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Christopher Hoffee at Chaos Recorders.

September 1st, 2013 Troubadour Flotsam and Jetsam Review

Atom Orr - "Flotsam and Jetsam" 

“Blankets of night, fingers of stars, fist of light – water everywhere, everywhere your Seven Sea Smile, a downward spiral into the water of your mouth…”

Sensual oceanic poetry of the highest order I say. Or in other words…

If Edgar Allen Poe had access to the technology (and the stimulants) of the 21st century he might have actually dared to dream (within a dream) a soundtrack to his Homeric odyssey “A Descent into the Maelstrom.” Incredulously, for those of us living in the Summer of Love circa 2013, we do not have to fantasize about such matters – for we inhabit a parallel realm that does contain that soundtrack and it’s name is Flotsam and Jetsam.

Flotsam and Jetsam is the eighth collection of songs by San Diego artist par excellence Christopher Hoffee, who, long before mutating into a Truckee Brother, transformed himself into Atom Orr (his artistically multi-disciplined alter ego).

Actually, Flotsam and Jetsam is more than just an epic musical allusion to the fantastical realms of Poe, Jules Verne, or the undersea world of Jacques Cousteau – its slippery narrative is akin to what might happen to Jonny Quest after coming of age and being seduced by a mermaid into a sublime adventure (similar to what Mickey Dolenz discovered by diving off a bridge in Bob Rafelson’s Head). The mermaid smiles and her kiss sends our protagonist reeling into the depths of feeling, in a manner alluded to by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung when he wrote, “Water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious.” OnFlotsam and Jetsam Hoffee explores that aspect of his archetypal nature (being born a Scorpio, a fixed water sign in astrology) with a flair that is rarely found within a song cycle. The entire enterprise hangs together as if drawn from the imaginarium of a chess master.

A riptide riposte to any cultural milieu, Flotsam and Jetsam provides the metaphoric means of paying homage to passion and the joy that springs from the expression of unbridled emotion. The Greek god “Oceanus” appears in an instrumental denouement and sandwiched within the alpha and omega of Flotsam and Jetsam we encounter an aural maelstrom of evil octopuses, sirens, sea horses, storms, a badass rap song entitled “Traveling at the Speed of If” and a meditation on the cosmos with a spaciously marvelous interpretation of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

Flotsam and Jetsam is a libation of suppliant prayer: a five out of five stars modern-day psychedelic masterpiece. The cover art on the physical CD is wonderfully evocative, but you are encouraged to check out the digital download version for the inclusion of two stellar tracks that didn’t make the final cut: “Jetsam” and “Anywhere.” They serve as a marvelous nightcap to the main course. Check it out at