OOBE Stealth

[Cleaning; 2015]

Styles: techno, house
Others: Actress, Royal Crown of Sweden, Lee Gamble

The notion of “outsider-house” implies a set of intentional or unintentional factors determining how the assumptions of house (and techno) are — or aren’t — met. The functionality of music that exists in this perceived area — Anthony Naples, Huerco S., Austin Cesear perhaps — is unclear and unnecessary in its most heady, ambient areas, but this also carries through to works that are more structurally defined and ready for the d-floor. But what Yari Malaspina achieves in his music as OOBE is less a kind of “body” music and more so wandering impressions of 4/4 dance forms that retain throbbing, unrelenting bass pulses at their core.

Like other decidedly lo-fi operatives like Florian Kupfer and Lee Gamble, OOBE’s roughly hewn tracks use decay and pressure as key elements in forming the overall impression of the music, not as an appendage to obfuscate straightforward dance tracks. Where simply layering tape distortion may imbue the rosters of Lobster Theremin and L.I.E.S. with a curious and compelling sound, it renders the creations transparent, with the more crucial releases soaring well above their less creative counterparts.

Although Stealth is drenched in the thick, sludgy reverberations and side-chained-to-excess conceits of OOBE’s previous releases, the opener “Stealth Love” evolves from a dark dirge into rare, chord-driven, euphoric bliss — and the dingy near-five minutes it takes to reach this wonderful blooming, shimmering ether shroud the beautiful reveal in a hazy, forlorn mood. OOBE’s ability to maneuver delicate chordal moments and tease out breathtaking harmonies — without slipping into gaudiness — brings to mind the simultaneously gritty and melodic moments of Route 8 or Andy Stott. Yet what emerges from the chaos of Stealth is less tangible, or obvious, and therefore sits in a singular space that offers a more reflective experience.

And part of the wonder of that experience is how Malaspina builds his tracks both horizontally and vertically: the progression of elements and themes on “Nerimorsi” is relatively logical when viewed from a distance, but deep within the track itself, it’s hard to tell where it may be headed, as the relationships between the individual layers blur just as they bend and warp themselves. It’s not cosmically tacky like coalescing fractals, but there’s an ever-present mystery to OOBE’s production. While SFTCR and Digitalisea bent and compressed well-worn stylistic flourishes into compelling figures, Stealth sees OOBE moving into an impressively unique space while maintaining the drive of his earlier works.

Links: OOBE - Cleaning

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