The 2nd of the 4 albums I listened to last night was by Oval, it’s called ’94 Diskont’. I am convinced I first heard Oval on a compilation of Electronic music I had several years ago but I can’t find the damn thing now to confirm that, anyway, this is Oval’s fourth album which was originally released back in 1995 but which I bought just a couple of months ago in a rather nice, ever so slightly spattered orange vinyl. Here it is on the deck:
The colour imperfections don’t really show up in the picture but there are specks of grey and white in there, which is something that I understand happens a lot with black vinyl but doesn’t show up because the black dominates everything. If it is not delibarate then it is due to some different colour vinyl from an earlier press still hanging around in the machine. I learned this from a vinyl podcast called ‘The Vinyl Guide’, which currently has around 40 episodes all running at about an hour or so long and presented by Nate, who is an enthusiastic and engaging presence. I highly recommend a listen, it’s very professionally produced and has an interesting and diverse range of guests and subjects. you can find it at http://www.thevinylguide.com/
Back to Oval, they do weird things to create music, such as deconstructing music and digital audio by using knives, paint, and tape to damage the surfaces of compact discs, and then stitch the sound back together in loops of melody, which is punctuated by the disc’s physical skips, due to the damage inflicted.
The opening track of ’94 Diskont’ (Do While) is 24 minutes and 4 seconds long, and nothing much happens, it is a loop, however, there is constant change with momentary slowing
down, or warping of the sound and minor variations which, once you get into the track, almost trick you into thinking there is much more happening than there really is, or perhaps there really is a lot more going on than I am conscious of because I am happily lost in it. Judge for yourself, here is the whole opening track:
It’s repetitiveness really does have a calming effect, especially if you have a predisposition for repetition and are able to allow your mind to just drift. The swooping melody counterpointed by clicks and pops works extraordinary well in a multilayered way where the track can be just something to relax to but also bears concentrated listening for the tiny imperfections that are deliberately and perfectly placed.
The album is a double, both coloured in this release, which I’ve just looked up and it would appear that it was for Record Store Day 2013, which means it had spent 3 years sitting in the record shop before I picked it up. All records will find the right home eventually.
Vinyl, LP, Album, Orange Marbled
Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM, Orange Marbled
The track listing is as follows:
|A2||Do While ⌘X||4:50|
|B5||Shop In Store||4:00|
|C1||Do While: Scanner
|C2||Do While: Jim O`Rourke
|D1||Do While: Mouse On Mars
|D2||Do While: Christian Vogel
When released, this music was looking far into the future and it has taken the music world quite a while to catch up, but many of the works being released now owe a debt to Oval who, 21 years ago, created a template for others to both follow and build upon.
I read one online comment that described the album as “Like being delicately cocooned in fine silk by mechanical spiders.” I think that’s a fair summation.