June 21, 2011

OVAL/LITURGY - "Split LP" (Thrill Jockey)

WOW.Just...wow.Markus Popp, aka: Oval, has been dubbed the pioneer of  the "glitch" movement, that swept the electronic music genre in the early 90's.He's very well respected, and a staple among various music publications, and fellow electronic musicians alike.These four new tracks are the first we've herd from him in almost ten years, and despite the long hiatus, it's obvious that Popp has continued to grow musically, expanding on his minimal skittering electro, in a big way.He returns with a much bigger, beefed up sound, with the use of stringed instruments and real percussion."Kreak" opens Oval's side of things, with a scattered acoustic guitar stumbling over live drums, hinting a possible free jazz excursion about to take place.Add his carefully crafted skittering glitches, and that's just what you get.The drums continue to come in random bursts, along with colorful clicks and crackling electronic warble, with the acoustiguitar strumming out of time and slightly off key to create a mesmerizing flood of sharp, sporadic melodies.It's the longest of the bunch, clocking in at just over six minutes, and it's a nice re-introduction to Oval's new organic instrumentation.The next three tracks are short snippets of mini-movements, with the same acoustic vibe of the opener.It's good to hear from Popp again, and hopefully this project will turn out a new LP from Oval.Fingers crossed.
  The B-side offers a brilliant contrast to Oval's subtle warmth, courtesy of Brooklyn 's Liturgy.Originally a solo project of guitarist and singer Hunter Hatchet Hendrix, he's since become quite the live spectacle, with a full band backing him on stage and in the studio.The band has recently released their monstrous new full length, also for Thrill Jockey, called "Renihilation".It's their first recording as a collective, with each member contributing to the recording process,it's a definite first for Liturgy.Here, this forward-thinking black metal act gives us a nineteen minute tidal wave of ethereal movements and open spaces, blending their abrasive guitar assault with hushed electronic drones, and nods to world music."Untitled" starts out with a slow and crushing guitar riff, slightly changing octaves each time it repeats itself.It's got all the elements of modern doom metal pummeling, with some interesting drum syncopation scattered throughout it.After what seems like an eternity's worth of crashing drums and brash riffing, things take a very unexpected turn.As the chords fizzle out and melt into ringing feedback, a loner analog pulse cuts through the pink noise, with no particular melody or tempo, it's just scattered random bleeps.Eventually this single note takes shape, and creates a steady blip, similar to a radar's hum.A slow-rising choir begins to chant in a dark and affected tone, as a jumbled tribal bump enters the picture, beating along at a stumbling pace.Enter the steady build of distant guitars, and all the sudden things being to burst with color.We are now in the midst of epic post-rock bliss, with soaring melodies and thick walls of heavy chords.An electrifying feeling lies within every note of this rise, and the movement holds strong for a solid 7 minutes, before changing tempos on us more than a few times.Eventually fading out into nothingness, we are left with a single male voice that hums repeatedly, sounding like some kind ofaboriginal campfire chant, as it wanders off into the dark.This is Liturgy, free of rules and regulations.Forward thinking black metal has arrived.

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