Album Review

Our Loving Is Hurting Us

Our Loving Is Hurting Us

By oOoOO

Tri-Angle Records
8 / 10
8th June 2012

By Martyn Pepperell


Grounded in the TXT-speak generation, San Francisco's Christopher Dexter Greenspan, better known as oOoOO (pronounced "oh") has been releasing occult framed club music since 2010. In the intervening time, he has released a CD-R on the famed Disaro Records (of Houston), a split 7" with White Ring on Emotion Records and two EPs on London/New York label Tri-Angle (one of my favourite modern music imprints). Alongside this has come high profile remixes, collaborations with European singer Butterclock and a whole lot of hype in both the URL (internet) and IRL (in real life) senses.

Our Loving Is Hurting Us is his second EP on Tri-Angle. Five songs (or seventeen so minutes) long, it sees him drawing on a palette of pitch shifted voice snippets, time stretched drums, eerie and cinematic melodic textures, deep subs and ghostly singing from Butterclock. Perhaps more sonic environments than songs per say, oOoOO's compositions are richly detailed, drenched in a level of vibe and mood which encourages breathless praise, elaborate genre descriptions like Drag, Witch House and Screwgaze and even more elaborate reviewing styles and think pieces. And as Our Loving Is Hurting Us reminds us, oOoOO deserves this level of hype and praise.

Projecting an aura which suggests interests in the darker side of the occult and the spiritual, as well as a fascination with perception altering drugs like oxycotton (oxycontin) and purple drank (cough syrup mixed with soft drink), his songs are notable for their ability to manifest as thickly textured time altering environments (as in mirror to the way these drugs affect the perception of time code), which when listened to in closer detail, carry haunting late night ghosts and the whisper of things from beyond. You know? the whole Howard Philip Lovecraft ancient alien horror trope, mixed with equally soothing and abrasive sonic experimentalism, the turtle time rhythms of Houston screw music and touches of the early morning rave sound explored by the likes of Burial and The XX.

Track one 'TryTry' foregrounds a steady rhythm in a swamp of bass and sweeping and a simple repeated/manipulated vocal refrain of "try try", adding arpregiated synth blips as an incidental, which swaps in an out at points with bubbling notes and different voice snippets. Aspects of what could almost be an electric guitar even, manifesting as auto-tuned voice. Track two 'Springs', works to a similar set of motifs, adding southern trap music snare rolls. Complimenting this, ButterClock adds a fragile ascendant vocal performance, one which while definitely involving words, becomes more about melody than specific storyline.

On track three 'Starr', still working within the same aesthetic, screwed down vocals add a black male gospel singer vibe to the haunting, playing them against 90s rave style diva wailing to generate additional drama. Following this, things enter a Broadcast/Beach House style vibe on 'Break Yr Heartt', except with Julia Holter style auto-tune on a lead vocal line, Broadcast as sung by robots. Closing things out with 'NoWayBack', oOoOO pushes his drum programming into a ruptured, industrial space and lets Butterclock smooth out the ride with some velveteen vocal phrases rubbing against stargazed digital tones. The overall outcome, which in a sense could be the thesis statement for every song on Our Loving Is Hurting Us is simple. Beautiful and rough, with added ouija board.






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