Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spotlight: Oval

Oval are pioneers of glitch, a genre which has itself birthed some interesting offspring ("glitch hop" a la Prefuse 73 or Machinedrum, "glitch pop" like Dntel, etc). However, elements of any kind of popular music are pretty far removed from Oval's sound. The group draws patterns in Magic Marker on the backs of CDs, and records the sounds of their playback. The results, particularly on their groundbreaking 1995 album 94 Diskont, are nothing short of astounding. Overall, their approach is not unlike that of 20th century minimalist composition in the vein of Reich or Glass, but channelled through fairly modern (at the time) technology. By leaving certain spaces of the CDs unmarred by marker, traces of cut up melody appear, and are repeated heavily. Variation and evolution occur over time, just as in a long form minimalist work.
Overall, this record is just fantastic, and I highly recommend you seek it out. The other groups that Markus Popp, the group's leader, has been involved with (Gastr Del Sol, Microstoria) are also highly recommended.

Buy it

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