It’s been a while since I had a chance to stumble upon, listen and review the material of an experimental artist. Unlike the traditional music scene, it seems a lot of experimental artists decided to take a break during 2020 or work on some other projects. The songwriting and recording process usually takes a lot of time, so perhaps this year will be more fruitful for the experimental music scene. Luckily for all avant-garde music fans, Loïc Grobéty was motivated to record another interesting material that spans over various experimental music genres. For those who might not know, Loïc is an artist who thoroughly explores avant-garde music, and he usually performs with Convuslif, Myrmek, and OLO. Expect nothing but a detailed exploration into the depths of experimental sound.
Sombre is a second recording by OLO. Previously, Loïc released a Cri, a singular seventeen-minute avant-garde composition that could serve as a mini-album. Therefore, Sombre represents the first full-length material with three longevous numbers. OLO thoroughly explores the aesthetics of ambient/drone by experimenting with sound oscillations, frequencies, and volumes. At first, I thought these experimentations were solely performed with downtuned guitars and electric bass. However, after a while, I realized that OLO uses electric bass, double bass, lyra8 synthesizer, and various electronica to achieve his sound. These non-traditional technics are mainly responsible for the characteristic articulations of this experienced artist.
OLO relies upon stripped-down ambiance with sporadic movements involved during the compositions. Nevertheless, this minimalistic approach solely keeps attention to those small details, while the constant low and high frequencies are lurking around in the very background. The material gets more detailed as the recording proceeds, but the ambiance evolves more into calmy low-end tones, decorated with more detailed harmonies. The double bass is probably mainly responsible for the constant tension in the atmosphere, while the electric bass delivers those small movements. The involvement of synthesizers and electronica is vividly hearable throughout the entire album, but these are just minor details that enhance the listening experience.
Sombre becomes more aggressive, distorted, louder as the album proceeds towards the end when these experimentations are getting their final, complex, fierce form.
Sombre represents a calmy but intense journey through the vast universe of avant-garde sound, and the tension becomes more notable as this recording reaches the imminent cataclysm. Loïc Grobéty pulls some impressive maneuvers with OLO that are shifting the boundaries of the contemporary experimental scene. Sombre comes on a compact disc, housed in a digipack packaging decorated with the appropriate abstract visual identity. The CD is available at OLO’s
Bandcamp page, Soman Records, Almost Famous, and Depressive Black Ambient Records.