|OSI is an American progressive experimental supergroup formed by Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos in 2003. The name refers to the short-lived US government agency Office of Strategic Influence which was established shortly after 9/11 to promote pro-US propaganda in domestic and foreign media, among other functions. It was announced closed only a few months after its existence became known and the ensuing media- and public outcry. However, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted in a press conference nine months later that the office had (predictably) been closed in name only.
Matheos asked Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy to lend his talents to what was initially to be Matheos' solo project. The original style of the project can be heard on the special edition of the CD. The track "The Thing That Never Was," a long progressive instrumental, was written by Matheos before any collaborators were involved. Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) was asked to sing on the project, but he felt the style of the music that had been written to that point didn't appeal to him. However, late in the project Wilson contributed vocals for one track, "shutDOWN".
Matheos subsequently recruited Kevin Moore (Chroma Key), who had played keyboards on various Fates Warning albums in the 1990s and early 2000s and was the first keyboardist of the band Dream Theater before leaving in 1994. Moore edited and developed sections of that track, with further contributions by Matheos, into what became the 10 songs on the main CD.
Sean Malone was then recruited to fill the role of bassist and Chapman Stick player for the band. This left vocalist as the only open position to be filled. Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation was seriously considered for the job, but as Moore was tracking his own scratch vocals in developing the songs, it became obvious that the project should continue with Moore singing.
Fates Warning often performs the songs "shutDOWN" and "The New Math" at their concerts with singer Ray Alder on vocals and Portnoy guesting on drums.
Respected UK-based internet label Burning Shed (a label also associated with Steven Wilson projects such as Porcupine Tree and No-Man) now host the official OSI online shop.
Mike Portnoy had been vocal about his disapproval of how the project turned out and stated he would not participate in another OSI album. Later rumors began to circulate that he would indeed record with OSI again when he was spotted in Toronto at the same time the second album was being recorded. He later confirmed this on his message board though his involvement was much more minimal the second time around.
OSI released its new album Free in 2006, with Portnoy again on drums. Malone was replaced by Joey Vera, Matheos' bandmate in Fates Warning, on bass for tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 (the remaining were programmed synth bass tracks by Moore) due to the distance and time issues surrounding Malone's teaching and Doctoral studies in Music Theory at the University of Oregon.
On September 5th, 2008, Kevin Moore announced that he and Jim Matheos had been working on OSI's third studio album for a few months. According to his statement in the News section of the official Chroma Key website, Mike Portnoy has been replaced by Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison. Matheos will be playing bass. Mikael Åkerfeldt has since revealed on the official Opeth website that he co-wrote and performed vocals for a song titled "Stockholm" on the new record.
The new album, "Blood", is set to be released on April 27 in Europe and May 19 in the U.S. via InsideOut Music.
taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_(band)