I’m indebted to Rob over at the Geography Trip imprint for sending over white labels of the resource centre (mentioned a little later) and the Oh / Ex / Oh releases. These come in ultra limited pressings of 250 vinyl copies only – all arrive on heavy duty slabs of wax housed in an eye catching fold out thick card sleeving replete with added inserts such as postcards, sew on patches etc…. First up the mysterious Oh / Ex / Oh who from what we can gather hails from the Netherlands and delivers on ‘extant’ what the label succinctly describes as a ‘soundtrack to an alternative future, a future world where all that had existed before had been forgotten’. couldn’t phrase it better. ‘Extant’ should by rights be the staple diet of those admiring of all things from Vangelis to Wizards Tell Lies and everything between, it is the dark half that Jean Michel Jarre keeps locked deep down in his psych, within its sonic prism are viewed the fracturing shards of ambient, drone and kosmiche equipped in bleak elegance and harvested in a stilled wide screen reverence. As far as reference markers go perhaps the early aural appearance of BRONNT and Craig Padilla veer close into the detached environs populated by Oh / Ex / Oh, both salvage otherworldly visions through the application of sparsely detailed symphonia to craft out sonic scripts cradled in a cinematic aspect that serve equally as meditative mediums and dream wired tripping collages. To describe ‘extant’ is to think upon it as a space walking odyssey murmured in cosmic raptures, it makes its introductions with ‘Crepuscule’ a beautifully ghost like apparition positioned in the deep reaches of the universes vast voids upon an orbital platform tapping out lovelorn messages to the silent heavens. Takes a while to emerge from its orbital dark side but once it does ’burners’ radiates amid the soft after burn of vapour trailing shimmers. Steeled in a whisper toned sereneness there’s something beautifully brooding about ’the holy fallout’ as it accentuates a feeling of abject loneliness and detachment as though the slo-mo soundtrack of a lunar walk while ’STS-115’ refracts as were the end credits of Barry Gray’s score for UFO embellishing the eclipsing event with a hollowing heavenly hymnal framing leaving the monumental and tearfully isolationist ’the last days’ to murmur mournfully into the concealing dark voids. ‘close encounters’ opens side 2, a motorik powered hyper cruiser indelibly sculptured in golden age kraut lines fuelled on tangerine dream sonic solar panels earthed by Warm Digits wiring and engineered by Zombi. Things take a bleaker more fractured turn for ‘the resonator’ which at first glance is your scared witless behind the sofa eclipsing mass of dark drone overtures before it suddenly goes all twilight zone to manifest into some sci-fi b-movie Radiophonic nightmare. ‘distance (reprise)’ offers a moment of tranquillity, a softly set Satie in space suite which even despite its tearful murmur hints at the desolate darkness found scarring tube way army’s ’replicas’ leaving the advent of a new dawn to emerge on the transcendental ’(with nova) a new beginning’ which just leaves ’the third eye’ to sign out the set to glorious conclusion amid a Jarre-esque tide of celestial swathes.
Undeniably informed of early 80’s horror / sci-fi soundtracks most notably John Carpenter, there’s a noir trimmed tension and obsession with bleak futurist visions to come visiting the suspense stricken stark symphonies of Oh/Ex/Oh’s ’the house in the woods’, ’end titles (Lori’s theme)’ with its syncopating playful key dinking something macabre lurks beneath the tranquil lull, something just out of sight and straight out of the oblique picture worlds of Cronenberg’s ’videodrome’ and Carpenter’s ’they live’ while the darkly studded ambient apparitions of ‘dark moors’ seek to separate you and leave you in fearful detachment amid the dread quiet and the creeping unknown as it nears close drawn by the thundering beats of your anxious panicked heart
There’s also a further set – just released – entitled ’new horizon’ which we’ll endeavour to nab a copy of for future critical love.