Having released the EPs ‘Church of Oxhead’ and ‘Meditation Tapes’, followed by the more recent 22 minute single ‘…And The Quiet Seemed To Shake’, Scottish electronic music produced, Oxhead, felt it was time to unleash upon the musical world a self-titled album of his dark and ambient instrumental compositions. As a tag to the project, Oxhead wrote ‘each song on this album is named after someone who has had an impact on my life in some way / some are real, some are not’.
The project begins in classic Oxhead fashion with an obscure sample being sonically manipulated and played with before soft synths and sequenced drumbeats slowly crawl in, being panned left and right so as to disorient the listener. ‘Leopold Bloom’ grows as further higher pitch synth parts swell in to form a disturbing melody above the brooding beat that persists in picking up more intricate rhythmic features.
The fidgety drum sequencing on ‘Joe Cornfield’ is in equal parts intriguing and disconcerting. There is a spoken word vocal sample flickering throughout, remaining just out of reach of the listener, preventing any attempt at deciphering its words: it stands a mystery, one that shall certainly play on my mind.
The standout track of the LP takes shape in the final cut, ‘Ellen Beskow’. It stands out not only for its unmistakeably brilliant production, but also for its removal from the sound we know to be Oxhead. It ventures further into guitar music than has been done before under this moniker (whilst maintaining the classic drum sequences and array of synths). Over its beautiful seven minutes it provides us with an emotional landscape: a far more positive one that has been presented before by the producer; while previous tracks and projects rely on ingenious production and transfixing rhythms, ‘Ellen Beskow’ keeps these values close to heart whilst taking carefully calculated leaps into more melodic measures and balancing this with something that can be described as nothing other than raw emotion.
This is one of the most compelling electronic releases I have ever come across: a truly transcendent experience.
Image Credit: Dead Hound Records