Is this album some kind of hippy recruitment propaganda?
So… first impressions…
It sounds lovely. The production is warm, clear and spacious. Loads of intricate layers, and lots of things happening but not clashing. The bass is beautifully clear and full of low end without overwhelming stuff. Fella knows how to make a record sound great.
Unfortunately the record he’s made is, to my ears, what I was worried going back to FSOL would be like when I posted this:
<- safety wink
Those wordless vocal samples did feel like cultural appropriation on first go round. Like a traditional privileged rich-white-westerner’s idea of generic “eastern” exoticism/mysticism. I’m sure it’s done with nothing but genuine love for those sounds, but it made me feel a little bit
Possibly more my problem than anything.
I was also quite surprised by how it went a bit wub-wub dubstep at a couple of points. Harwell Dekatron in particular seemed to go pretty hard on the mid-late-noughties dubstep style bass.
Will give it another go, but though I wish Psymon and his dub all the best, I don’t think this is for me…
Time to get back into this thread…
Holy shit, ironically OTT is playing at the middle east in Cambridge, MA tonight. Like 45 minutes from my house. Need a dog sitter stat!!
Damn, not going to make it! Guess I’ll just have to listen to the break beat funky dub of Hello My Name Is.
Yeah, read a good interview with him a while back. He was a sound engineer for a long time before starting on his own stuff which might contribute to his mixes being so good.
I go back and forth on this. As noted, I LOVE this style of music, but there is a grim tendency for the artwork to veer off into exotic woman territory. Folks like Ott and Shpongle have always avoided that side (along with being the absolute best at what they do). For me, it comes off as a celebration of non-western music when Ott is doing it (Shpongle veers into the magic mushrooms buddhism weird appropriation at times). Similar way that, to this week’s new release chat, Shackleton incorporates ‘eastern’ rhythms and drum sounds into this work. The problem is that there’s all the context of a horde of Jonny-come-lately imitators leaning into the eroticised mysticism way too hard.
Or maybe I’m just overly-justifying something I feel uneasy about because I love the sound of those non-western scales? Obvs, it would be great if this was coming more from the countries where this is the traditional musical mode.
Ott is probably the only producer who can get away with this for me.
I totally get @McGarnagle’s point here, but playing the album again this morning and paying specific attention to those vocals, I decided that they are pretty much all just wordless ululations with no specific ethnomusical indicators.
Why do we worry that this is trading off indigenous music anymore than we do, say, Alison Goldfrapp’s similar vocals on Are We Here? by Orbital*? Is it because this record is tainted by genre and the all the half baked Indian spirituality and lazy Buddhist tokens floating around the rest of the psychedelic electronic music scene and so we’re primed to look for it in a way we’re not with the Orbital example? Have a bunch of gap year trustafarian wankers who had, like, an amaaaazingly deep time at this beach in India, you wouldn’t have heard of it but it was soooo spiritual, ruined it for the rest of us? Am I just giving Ott a pass because I like his music?
It’s a can of worms, alright.
I think it’s this to a large degree. It would be a sad state affairs if we confined ourselves to the trappings of western scales and rhythms, and the blend of (takes a deep breath) ‘world music’ with western styles can be really interesting. Think about KLF sampling all sorts on Chill Out, Taylor Deupree’s use of gamelan in Shoals or even Opeth’s use of Arabic scales in Bleak. For me, Ott feels like those, but there’s definitely a side to psychill/biet/dub/trance which hits on the problematic trustafarian and/or exotic woman tropes.
I suppose another factor is: are there folks for whom this is their tradtional musical mode who are doing similar things but being suppressed by the western producers having more promotional clout, money, etc? I honestly don’t know…
I wonder if this is actually part of the problem, that these are stripped of the nuance of their heritage and re-cast as something generically ‘eastern’? But then perhaps Ott is hugely knowledgable about the ins and outs and it’s more a reflection of my ignorance as as listener?
Yep, and an interesting one at that. Christ I love the album though.
I think this might be part of the issue for me. It kind of feels a bit like they’re a generic signifier of ‘eastern mysticism’ if that makes sense? That being said, I think it would be a real shame if people weren’t willing to explore non-western tones and scales. So… I don’t know.
I have no doubt that this taints my view, which is probably more my own issue rather than anything else…
@wonton sorry for forgetting (tough time at work) but please post your pick when you have a moment
And keen to hear any other reactions to the divisive (brilliant) Ott choice
Yeah didn’t do much for me. Only gave it one listen tho…
Ah shit, I thought it was Thursdays? I had two picks in mind, do you guys if if I listen to them both tonight and post in the morning?
booo we want picks today
Yeah it’s pretty fluid on the timing. No rush!
So was there no post last week or did I miss it? Not seeing anything…Not sure if its this week or next.
Argh, a week late! Still, hopefully better late than never.
My pick is…Now Is The Last Best Time by Tim Mislock! Links:
I won’t write too much in the hope that a few of you connect with it in your own way and are able to offer some thoughts. The guy is really not very well known…this is his only album, from last year, and he has just over 50 monthly listeners on Spotify. I came to him because he did the backing guitar work on Peter Silberman’s solo album…so I was intrigued to read he was a guitar drone man “by trade”.
I guess, in a similar fashion to my first pick - Brambles, this is more of a little-known niche pleasure rather than a lost gem…but I think it has real depth and quality. There are elements of formless guitar drone a la Kyle Bobby Dunn…but with more attention paid to repetitive loop phrases that are a bit more Mark McGuire. And the themes in it are quite stark and beautiful…the whole album is an ode to his mother, a primary caregiver to her husband who has Alzheimer’s (so parallels to be drawn with The Caretaker there…albeit loosely).
If I was to veer away from simplistic comparisons to other artists…I’d say that it’s a collection of beautiful fluid pieces that create a melancholic fog…occasionally punctuated by vibrating, serrated guitar that might be found in something Barn Owl recorded (Damn - more comparisons!). I’m actually quite excited…both to stick it on right now and see what the good people of DiS thinks of it. I have a theory about which DiSser will enjoy it most…but I’ll keep it to myself for now!
I really like this on first listen. It sort of skirts round post-rock at times without ever so much as hinting at the possibility of a cathartic pay off. Just glimmering sadness always. Such lovely details - vague distant voices and fragmented melodies.
Yeah. I can get on board with this.
Kyle Bobby Dunn, The Caretaker and Mark McGuire references = I’m in! Really looking forward to it, and thanks again for bringing Brambles to my attention, absolutely stunning record.