Oto Efekt - Living Room EP

Publié le par Slug



Tracklisting: 1. In This Hole   2. Vincent   3. Something You Said   4. See
5. Song For Eduardo (Bonus Track)



Music such as this has to help people by letting them travel through colors, and that must be the hardest part to succeed in.  For musicians, the main goal is to create moods and pictures that strike each listener, suggesting mental images and drawings in order to let people penetrate its inner world.  While listening to Oto Efekt; the project of young French songwriter named Phoene Somsavath, we can all see that she succeeded in doing this.  All is blue and grey in her universe, and remains pale for each song.  It is a kind of foggy universe that we go through while listening to the 5 songs contained in this slow and moving EP titled Living Room, and its minimalist atmosphere is a great part of it.

For people listening to Labradford and Mark Nelson’s Pan American, here is a well-known land; guitars and synthetic waves take the main part for each song, and are the basis of Phoene’s compositions.  She builds her songs the same way as these bands do, for our great listening pleasure. Adding a few electronic noises and rhythms, she focuses on emotions and moods, creating five different universes, and that is what is immediately impressive to the listener, while hearing the EP for the first time.  No songs look alike, even if they seem to have the same structure (but I‘m not really sure of that either…).  Creating so many different feelings (in an EP only, as well!) in her music already is a challenge that she has succeeded in.  From the electronic basis of ‘In This Hole’, to the improbable mix of Labradford and Yann Tiersen’s styles in ‘Song For Eduardo’, Phoene deals with instruments and structures to create different stops in this journey through the EP.  More than just a single way to let us discover her influencing artists, it is a complete reconstruction of their art, and an appropriation of it.

Different instruments appear in these songs.  First, while listening to electronic waves and rhythm in the song ‘In This Hole’, the listener already thinks he is in a kind of Björk-like soundscape, with the music and experimental nature of it, but that would be very far from the truth.  This first song is apart from the EP’s complete mood, because it must be the most energetic song from the mini-album, but it is the perfect way to introduce the listener to Phoene’s universe.  It first introduces the main instruments used in each song, and most of all, the place each one is taking in her compositions.  Contrary to the first impression given by the songs, electronic waves are only here to value more organic and natural instruments.  They are here to arrange the songs, not to be the main part of it.  Phoene did a great and impressive thing with the way she arranged these songs, and we have to congratulate her for this.  Reversed parts and unnatural sounds give a red thread to each composition (Something You Said).

She then goes from ambient post-rock (See) to a kind of aerial blues-like tune (Something You Said and its long non-repetitive piano part), and builds atmospheres, upon which she lays her very particular voice, which is a great part in the quality of her songs.  Tense and almost crying (See, Vincent), yet sometimes even whispering (Something You Said), Phoene looks like a desperate woman trying to understand what she went through during the two years of composing.  She sings about the darkest parts of her life, talking about experiences and men we don’t know.  Are they friends or lovers who have disappeared, or people she met, and then lost?  Who are Vincent and Eduardo?  Who said something?  She just asks for answers and needs for help, and perhaps only the listener can answer these questions.  She stands here, naked and revealing her world and thoughts, and musically, the listener becomes a kind of confessor and a way for her to rest and confide.  Her music remains intimate and minimalistic, in order to be accessible to everybody, even if it doesn’t seem like it while you are first listening to it.

“Rain is just pouring…”, as she sings in ‘See’; and this universe is rainy and needs a place to stay and get warmth and comfort.  These sad songs are straight to the bone, sometimes shiny and hopeful, but most of the time they are grey, melancholy, and blue.  The bonus track, ‘Song For Eduardo’, stands for the road that Phoene is going to take.  Single and traveling, with multiple instruments; she’ll go from one place to another, singing of her despair and visions of life, and sharing them with others.  She’ll only stop when she feels comfortable, and will meet someone, but then she’ll go away again, just to keep her freedom alive.  The accordion theme in this last song, along with the stepping and raindrop noises, will haunt us forever.  Let’s just hope we’ll soon be able to hear new songs, in order to further share her personal diary and experiences.

The Living Room EP is amazing and wonderful, intimate and intelligent.  From song to song, the listener will go for a walk, taking Phoene by the hand, and share her musical universe.  Such an implication in music is rare and true, and without a doubt, she will find a place in this musical hole where desperate musicians lay, and will exit from it really soon.  Well, I really hope so…

                                                                                                                     Slug

Publié dans pastallconcerns

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