O+S



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O+S

Author: Stephen Slaybaugh
04/03/2009 | Agit Reader | www.agitreader.com | Album Review
O+S (short for Orenda Fink, of Azure Ray, and Scalpelist, a.k.a. Cedric LeMoyne of Remy Zero) began as an art project at Omaha's Bemis Center of Contemporary Arts, where Fink held a residency. She had begun collecting sounds and recruited LeMoyne, a friend from her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, to assist in creating loops from them. Eventually such work led to the creation of this self-titled record, but by that point the two had parted ways, and thus it was made piecemeal through the mail.

With Fink having a collection of recordings from Haiti, as well as less exotic locales like Nebraska in Alabama, this project had the making of something exceptional and peregrine, or at least as interesting as any of the records Damon Albarn has made in his spare time. As it is, O+S seem less willing to explore the inherent qualities of the recordings they had at their disposal but rather to bend them to their owns wills and visions or bury them under a pall of trite mood music. "New Life," which leads the record off is a catchy song, though it's hard to hear any field recordings aside from the slight ambient embellishment, and "Permanent Scar," which follows, is jarring for its fuzzed bass line hook, though what bearing any of the aforementioned back story had on it isn't clear. Most of the remainder of the record never manages to escape falling back on terrain familiar to Fink from her Azure Ray days, or for that matter, to raise a pulse. "Haunts" is another exception, with a trip-hop texture and a whir of percussive touches, but O+S's multi-culti cut-and-paste is an afterthought and not the raison d'etre that one is led to believe.
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