Oval – O

January 01, 1970



(Thrill Jockey)




The sound of error in pop music is
hardly new: feedback and distortion are as old as rock itself. With Oval,
however, Markus Popp constructed an entire aesthetic out of digital error,
assembling electronica from clicks, chirps and skips culled from damaged CDs.
Despite Oval’s austere ingredients, hermetic experimental processes and
resolutely theoretical framework, their music has displayed surprising melodic warmth and textured beauty-characteristics
also central to the double-disc O,
Oval’s first release in nine years.


This time, intriguingly, Popp’s
raw materials emphasize the sounds of identifiable instrumentation (such as
guitar), albeit manipulated and arranged to suggest deconstructed music-box
minimalism; on disc one, untreated drumming even adds a jazz element, but this
remains recognizably Oval. Most
striking is Popp’s fusion of opposites. He melds apparently structureless flow
with precise detail (including throughout the second disc’s 50 miniatures) and
establishes a seamless interface of synthetic and organic: a string’s tactile
rasp, for example, is simultaneously an electronic texture. Popp might no
longer be forging new genres, but he’s certainly created a sublime, absorbing


Heart Muzik,” “Pastell” WILSON NEATE

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