Wednesday, 11 October 2017

EP: o.ccult - Same

O.ccult - Same EP
Photo: Rotem Bahar Rozen


Info: o.ccult is a collaboration between electronic design and lo-fi songwriting.
Chen Firsel & AMO collaborated first as part of experimental-psych outfit Memory in Plant back in 2014. At the beginning of 2016 the two started this new and minimalistic project. This is their child.

I've had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing the music of Amo and Chen Firsel over the last few years, between Memory in Plant, what seems like an age ago, both of their solo work, and featuring three of the singles from Same since the beginning of the year when o.ccult kicked off for the first time. The Israeli pair have come out on top though with this six-track extended play, it's modern, adventurous and exactly what a fan of downtempo electronic music yearns for.

From opening track 'I was of' with it's organ-like drone, the scene is set, electronic beats and clicks rattle feverishly, almost attacking the despondent vocals like anti-bodies swarming bacteria, a tunnel of calm weaves its way cautiously through the sonic snaps, and it's quite beautiful. 

'Free' is a mesmeric and wonderful highlight on the EP, in my previous review back in January I wrote; "The synth progressions are dark and wholesome, adding to an already enjoyably mellow and haunting track...The lyrics are also both poetic and very visual; 'Up, in the air, pulled apart by ghosts, pulled apart by ghosts, There in heaven, or hell, or whatever, or whatever, who wants to plant, a little red flower?'"

The nonchalance of that final line encapsulating much of the mood across the six tracks, a disconnected ambivalence. After the spritely moods of 'Elephant', o.ccult swoop into a hardcore industrial 80's electronic mode on 'Robots', it's like Moog central sucked through a cosmic vacuum and as the track reaches the two minute mark all heaven and hell break loose in an exhilirating cacophany of chaos and carnage.

Their psychedelic roots sparkle through on the strange curio that is 'hell.mary', which features additional vocals from Sarai Darmon, a throwback to late 60's psych-garage with a modern twist. We close with a track simply named after the duo's musical project itself, it's quite Aphex Twin in delivery, and this is something that briefly reared it's head earlier in the EP. It has all the hallmarks of a dystopian sci-fi soundtrack, a lone figure in the distance on a desolate and barren planet far from home. This is something that's key across Same, it is at times challenging, but incredibly visual and most importantly, extremely rewarding. 

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