OSKAR – LP:2 (Incarnation Recordings)
The loopy (literally) back-story to this recording is hilarious fun, and involves a load of previously near-mute Spanish mentalists in an asylum getting excited about music, which is obviously amazing. But have OSKAR (no need to shout) managed to distil the whimsy, the unexpected purity and infantile joy of such a scenario? In some ways they achieve the whimsy, but more often than not it’s coupled with a delicious, nightmarish sense of impending danger, as if at any moment the genteel lady sitting in the corner might suddenly leap out of her seat and try to bite your knees. The more they do this, the more you suspect that OSKAR will one day succeed and sever a leg.
A massive range of genres are touched upon, and not in a fleeting or insubstantial way. Twanging indie-folk on Printer Tzara is polarised by dadaist incantations on the delightful Reichenbach Falls, while the grind and chug of metallic guitar on Some Song contextualise the epic peaks of Hi-Beam Blue. Indeed, as the unashamedly post-rocking tendencies of that song wind down into blissful ‘cello scrapes and build up once again to a blinding and confusing even keel, the listener is reminded that OSKAR’s technique and skill of altering soundscapes to enhance effect is exemplary.
Luckily for them (and perhaps indicative of their skill), OSKAR’s LP:2 remains bewitching throughout, whether they’re skipping idly or running with intent. The closing track, Sanatorio, returns the whole album to the theme of human madness. Recordings of insane laughter that, so the press release leads us to believe, are taken from that Spanish asylum pepper the melancholy with that all-important suspicion that this is music aching to tip over into entertaining ridiculousness, but is too clever to let that be the only tension on display. It is never uninteresting.
This came out on June 22nd. FAT LOT OF GOOD TELLING YOU THAT. More here.