Octo Octa Oh Love EP
Of all the outfits aligned with the 100% Silk imprint, Brooklyn-based producer Octo Octa is perhaps the one least fixed on a retro-minded sound. True, his productions do take their share of cues from classic house, but his slant is still decidedly current, and on the Oh Love EP, Octo Octa continues to find fruitful territory that seems fit to please both the hipster-house scene that has sprouted up around 100% Silk and its contemporaries, as well as a larger community of house-music devotees.
Compared to the four-track "Let Me See You" maxi-single which debuted the Brooklyn artist's productions on Amanda Brown's label, the four songs displayed here are considerably more deep and subdued. Each track comes wrapped in a thick coating of rounded, spacious chords, touched with the slightest bit of mood and steeped in reverb and delay. Throughout the course of the EP, the tempo never gets pushed beyond 120 bpm, and the steady drum patterns come anchored by four-on-the-floor beats. In addition, the drums here appear a little less in the foreground than one might expect, with the snares, claps, and various percussion elements not even toying with the thought of overpowering any other aspect of the songs.
The a-side cuts, "Oh Love" and "Deep Hurt," make sense as a pair, with both taking slightly different approaches to Octo Octa's idea of a housey club tune—the former pairing a slight shuffle with a bouncing bassline and floaty synth melody, while the latter hunkers down inside a tom-laden rhythm, placing cuts of Aaliyah vocals on top (don't worry, it's not quite one of those easily recognizable/overwrought snippets). The b-side of the 12" stretches the sonic landscape a bit, beginning with "Night Out," a cut surely inspired by the soulful, slow-brewing sounds of Detroit basement tracks. Although this selection is definitely the EP's most laid-back effort, it also proves to be the record's most inviting, as the warm, sticky chord progression sounds instantly familiar (especially when it's highlighted by a ghostly melody), easing the listener comfortably along while Octo Octa builds intoxicating patterns of micro-percussion and drops the occasional spoken-word sample. "I Can Feel You (Dub)" ends the EP on a bit of a different tip than its predecessors, choosing to undertake a more driving feel with a heavy kick and slightly evil tuned-piano chords, while also clocking in with the record's slowest tempo at 112 bpm.
Although the Oh Love EP finds Octo Octa dipping into deeper territory, the Brooklyn producer still maintains his unique style across the four tracks, and ultimately adds a second worthwhile outing of original tunes to his name. With the small, but nonetheless promising, tracklist Octo Octa has put together over the past 10 months, he may be in line to follow the path of fellow 100% Silk artist Ital, as he seems primed to make the jump and have his productions eventually move beyond the influential, but indie-minded, LA imprint in order to gain exposure and acceptance in the larger electronic-music community.
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