Oval – O (Thrill Jockey) 2LP
Well, as promised the new Oval album really does come across as a massively expanded version of the Oh EP. What filled two sides of 45RPM vinyl on that 12″ is here stretched across two whole CDs. The first disc features more of Markus Popp’s excursions into digitally damaged acoustic guitar abuse and fake jazz drumming, the second gives us 50 (count ‘em) more of his endlessly beguiling “ringtones”.
The more percussive sound that Popp has been dabbling in seems to have caused some consternation among long-time devotees, who generally prefer the more abstract style of the ringtones. In fact, the material on disc one of O is hardly dancefloor friendly and features plenty of extended abstract passages among the bursts of sliced up drums.
Basically, it’s great but bloody hell does it go on. As with many Oval albums, the sonic palette is extremely limited and you may feel that there isn’t enough variety here to justify the running time. You may even be tempted to pass this up altogether and stick with the more concise Oh EP. But the material here is generally stronger than on the 12″ and displays a lightness of touch that makes the time just fly by.
O isn’t out yet but Thrill Jockey is allegedly planning to release this monster on vinyl. It’ll have to be a four LP set, like Wu-Tang Forever. Can’t wait!
STOP THE PRESS: O is actually being released as a 2LP set. The music from CD1 is stretched across sides A to C, while side D features some vinyl-only bonus tracks. The album comes with a download coupon for the tracks from CD 2. It’s available for pre-order now.