A compilation on October Man Recordings that contains 14 tracks by 13 artists as is usually the case there are some well-known contributors to OMR and some who make their first contribution. The electronic music elder Cheju opens A Small Frame of Reference with the trademarked sounding and beautiful Bracken. The one thing out of the ordinary with the track in question would be the tempo, which is set low compared to many of his previous tracks. Absent Without Leave’s Clouds is sounding very familiar with it’s setting of gentle guitar and drums a sweet little number indeed. Alkin Engineering’s Edge Too Close is superb with serious sub bass, synthetic sounds and reversed strings lingering above. In combination with processed vocals it creates a lot of atmosphere and it’s very nice! Bacanal Intruder’s Archiduque’s guitars and harmonica is oozing of innocence (if there actually is such a thing). Yellow6′s Untitled 2 sees this artist pursue his brand of guitar-based music, as has been the case on many occasions before and always to great effect. Ursula’s Des-Confort shares the familiarity in sound with Clouds by Absent Without Leave and it could be the strong pop-like melodies that reinforce that feeling. Arturowilliamsb’s Rural Memoir is cinematic, acoustic and quite beautiful. Spookboy’s Penny Sanchez flips the script literally and delivers a looped based non-hip hop sounding hip-hop track. Aitänna77′s October 16th sees him continuing treading the path of the 21st century singer-song writer, with this delicately put together track. Dof’s Adverb is hectic in comparison with the forerunners and yet it is a variant of the acoustic exercise s found on A Small Frame of Reference compilation. .tape.’s Numa is beatless and almost entirely based on acoustic guitar. David Newlyn’s Lesson 7 is pensive and the way the tones from a lonely grand piano echoes out into space in a to say the least epic way (it may be of interest that the artist is sharing the identity of October Man Recordings’ founder and owner). Cheju is graced with two contributions to the compilation and the second one Crane-fly is a re-interpretation of one of his own tracks, the ambience is as unmistakable as is the beat. Finally Winterlight’s Swept that concludes this DIY show of force. There’s just one possible problem and that is to find this compilation if you happen to like owning physical copies of your music. This review has been sadly delayed and given that the actual release took place some time last year (2006) and given the sever limitation of any OMR release you’ll probably not be able to obtain a copy. But, hey there’s always the chance of a re-release, you never know. And yes, Winterlight’s Swept is lovely!
The debut release of Convurazio on October Man Recordings offers music set in lo-fi with well-known and cherished beats, and when paired with nursery rhyme like melodies like in the opening track Tricky it is a treat. In the second track Skate the setting in the same: lo-fi, but the beats are light and treading accompanied by the sounds of a sitar. The behind the Console… Mama Mia Chef EP is precisely that a part nostalgic, playful and lo-fi sounding EP, in many aspects the title itself reflects the musical content. It’s an OMR 3-inch release, individually numbered and with a hand-cut piece of actual(!) photographic paper for cover art.
The one-man industry that is October Man Recordings continues to release ultra limited records with no sign of stopping. Silent Night is an EP released on the increasingly popular 3-inch CDR format. The OMR releases come individually numbered and with a hand-cut piece of actual(!) photographic paper for cover art. Lilienweiss are Thorsten Scheerer and Dorothea Herrmann and the set-up clarinet, bass, guitar and software enhancement suggests music that is highly acoustic and it is. However, Lilienweiss are not opting for the sweet sounds rather their music is cinematic and gloomy soundscapes dominate the sonic picture all to great effect. The unforgiving electrically powered guitars in the fourth track Rectified could be one example. Lilienweiss’ Silent Night is an interesting listening and a testament to OMR’s persistence.
“229, 294, 306, 337″ is an analogue adventure with the occasional low-fi excursion signed Ian Baxter. There are seven tracks in a very “French” setting, guitar based electronic music as it was once defined by ADIM from France and maybe especially by Melodium their brightest shining star. But, Ian Baxter probably states it better himself if not remarkably much more concise than I managed to do: “A piece in seven parts based on tones made from a beer bottle, guitars and electronics”. It’s an interesting listening experience and a fine October Man Recordings release.
Electronic craftsmanship would summarise this release by Z-arc on the label with the most sympathetic motto around “small enough to care” and the label in question would be October Man Recordings. Z-arc has previously released music on ClickClickDrone as well as on Boltfish. The “Ion Traffic” EP sees more of the flowing electronic landscape styled music made by Z-arc in the past. The “Ion Traffic” EP has some definite qualities and the somewhat sinister yet non-aggressive musical setting is a treat.
Gentle sounds of treated guitar in all its various forms, the title “Loops, Notes and Sketches [solo guitar]” says it all really, the reason being that Yellow6’s 11 track OMR release is precisely that. And so would his entire musical output seem to be, not that I’ve had the opportunity to hear more than a fraction of his fairly extensive output of guitar, looper pedal and an array of reverbs and tremolo. He has indirectly been featured before here at Electronic Desert for his contributions to Bauri’s “Cold Mittens” on the “Everything Will Be OK Again” EP released by the lovely New Speak label in 2003. And could very well have been featured a second time if the time would ever appear to write something about “Annexe: Cottage Industries 2″ a compilation released by the now sadly debunked Neo Ouija label. The conclusion must be that the carefully constructed guitar soundscape are as beautiful as they are fragile and more than well deserves your attention. On a different note: the observant may also notice that the OMR release sequence has reached number 16 and that is three numbers short of the previous outing by Alkin Engineering. So while the 100 copies “Loops, Notes and Sketches [solo guitar]” are being sold out, you have two more October Man Recordings’ treats to look forward to.
“Out Of Order” is the title of the latest offering from October Man Recordings and a quite sinister sounding one at that. It is also the artist Alkin Engineering’s debut on OMR and it starts off setting the mood immediately with “Statine” and its disjointed rythms and distorted sounds merged with field recording like vocals. “Kit.fil.2″ got synthesised string sounds with a strong retro feel and layers of vocals sounding like they originated from a bugging operation. “Howker Beth Simplified” has more structure with pulsating beats and metallic sounds. “Unsettled By Proxy” adds rhythm with some breakish beats and elements in the upper frequency regions. “Ventrac 9″ and “Bortle Standard White” continue along the same lines creating an excellent EP with sinister atmosphere. This release is quite different musically from the previous OMR release, but they have at least one thing in common apart from being good and that is that they both are extremely rare. The 50 pieces run of “Out Of Order” is sold out since long. Be sure to catch the next release!
Friendly would be a good characterisation of this record the twelfth offering from the little yet very persistent October Man Recordings. The “Didn’t Know Where I Was EP” starts off with “Blank” a beatless intro leading onto “Sector” and the gentle beats, lush soundscapes and a touch of melancholy make a simply beautiful track. “Lighthouse” follows and finally the fourth and last track “Filter” (Edit) which is a beatless outro stretching some 12 minutes long. David Newlyn’s debut release on October Man is a good one and by the looks of it the 25 pieces run is sold out since long. Be sure to catch the next release.
“Partition” shows Cheju in form on October Man Recordings. It is a five track EP filled with strong melodies and the hinted melancholy that one is used to hear from Cheju. The “Partition” EP has some similarities to his recent Static Caravan release “A Rainy Mile” with guitars embedded in the production. The quality is as high as ever, for example the crispness, static and excellent beats of “Sundid”, the wall of sound in “Outdubstarn” or the hard to resist melody of “Casiotonic”. Cheju continues developing his take on electronic music and successfully incorporates new elements, while remaining true to his own unique sound, lovely stuff. The fifth and last track is “Outdubstarn (Mint’s Octane Remix)” as the title suggests a remix by Boltfish’s very own Mint. His remix sets a different mood and could very well have been included on the soundtrack of Carpenter’s Escape from New York if it had been around at the time. And finally my compliments to OMR for the highly enjoyable artwork and bright orange disc!
In Transfolmer’s “Electric Air” the acoustic outings of October Man Recordings gets stretched to the limit and most likely well beyond my personal taste. But all is not lost there’re are some surprises in store and a healthy dose of beats, breaks, bass and electronics can be detected in quite a few of the compositions. It’s a nine-track album that has an ending swaying between a vocal/electronic adventure and an in-depth electronic excursion. I guess you could say the vocal elements on “Electric Air” simply could cater for a different audience, all depending on the given listener’s personal preferences (hey, isn’t that quite a generic statement?). And let it be said that the vocal efforts by “Transfolmer” are far from being bad sounding in themselves they’re just not my cup of tea. The enjoyable tracks (in my mind) would be the opening “Morning”, “Electric Air”, “Sybelius”, “Xylofile” and the following three tracks. The conclusion is that you can’t help but to really like Transfolmer’s take on music, the lush, warm and bass rich yet fragile soundscapes. That would include October Man Recording’s general take on contemporary music as well. And by the time you get to read this text, this release has surely already been stored in the extensive OMR archives, but be sure to investigate nevertheless, because you’ll never know what you’ll end up finding.