It has been a while since we had any experimental music on our pages, so this release arrived at our headquarters just in time for a review. OLO is not a stranger to our pages. Quite the contrary, I had a chance to listen to and review Sombre, a previous full-length album by this Swiss experimental artist. For those unfamiliar with this exceptional outlet, OLO is a solo project of Loïc Grobéty, known for his work with Convulsif and A Cordes Perdues. Everything I heard before from Loïc Grobéty sounded divine, so I had high hopes for Neige Noire, his latest full-length album consisting of three longevous compositions. Neige Noire comes housed in a reverse board printed four-panel digi-sleeve, decorated with outstanding monochrome photos of almost abstract landscapes. It’s a visual identity that perfectly suits the OLO’s sonic output.
Neige Noire explores the depths of experimental and avant-garde music from beginning to end. OLO builds beautiful soundscapes from scratch by gliding and strumming over the electric bass guitar without losing balance or consistency. Quite the contrary, these longevous soundscapes almost act as artificial field recordings, continuously intervening with each other. Therefore, the entire material sounds like an experimental soundtrack for some artistic noir movie. These neverending basslines gradually become more raw, abrasive, fuzzy, and heavily distorted, and OLO applies various synth maneuvers, keys, and DIY instruments onto an already-shaped sonic background. You’ll also notice some vocal acrobatics while the constant low-end theme retains shape until the end. Nocture is a perfect example of how drone, ambient, and industrial noise music could still sound interesting, exciting, and entertaining for your listening apparatus.
Flateyjarkirkja also has a minimalistic overture, but it gradually becomes an enormously complex ambient composition decorated with many explorations into field recordings, musique concrete, industrial noise, drone, etc. OLO calms the ambiance with this particular composition, but if you pay closer attention to this number, you’ll notice many details lurking around. It’s equally exciting as Nocturne, but OLO took a different approach while improvising or performing. It serves as such a nice contrast to Nocturne, which is also calm but unquestionably more aggressive than Flateyjarkirkja. On the other hand, Léthé represents a perfect ambient composition with such a divine melody that once again proves that Loïc Grobéty is such an outstanding bass player. It is also an appropriate closure for this exceptional experimental/avant-garde record, where OLO showcased all the experience, talent, and musicianship by delivering three superb compositions. Neige Noire is available for purchase via Midira Records. Don’t miss this album if you’re into excellent experimental music.