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4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B00005JA6Z
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #127,121 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description


Like any art worthy of the name, the work of Oval transcends its origins. Markus Popp, the German laptop musician and software developer who is the wizard behind Oval's digital curtain, is fond of slinging around all sorts of heavy theory about the meaning of that work. But you don't need to know how his audio (Popp prefers that term to music) is supposed to comment upon the marketplace or authorship to get a kick out of Ovalcommers. All you need is a couple of open-minded ears. The first track (of 11, all unnamed) commences with a rhythm loop reminiscent of an alarm buzzer, then erupts into a spectacular neon-hued blast of whistles and hums. Elsewhere Popp sculpts static and complexly textured tones into crunching riffs and delicate melodies, and sets them to beats fashioned from skipping CDs. It somehow makes for dense, kinetic, and undeniably rocking tunes that are as immediate and accessible as experimental electronic music ever gets. --Bill Meyer

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
(...) I like IDM, experimental and weird stuff. I love Throbbing Gristle from back in the day when it was called 'industrial'; I'm a huge fan of autechre, u-ziq, aphex twin and the like so when I put this disc on I was expecting more of the same.
In my opinion, based upon what I look for in experimental music,ovalcommers is pretty awful (key words: MY OPINION). I'm sure some people can appreciate oval's excuse for "music" and actually "get" them but I thought it was a pure sonic assault of noise. It sounds as if someone took an electronic organ and pressed down as many keys as possible with their hands, stepped on their pet cat and played a skipping CD all at the same time. There IS some structure and melody underneath the noise, but there's an absence of percussion and I need some sort of beat no matter how warped or messed up it is. Not necessarily to dance to but to tie all the elements together. Some of the tracks could have actually been interesting but it seemed as if they were missing something. I don't want to have to listen to "music" over and over again until I can finally pick out some kind of discernable rhythm or melody within the chaos. That's too much work and when listening to a CD becomes a full time job just to search out the "music" then that's the day I stop listening to music. I couldn't wait to take the disc back to the music store and trade it in for the new aphex twin (worth picking up).
By no means am I putting ovalcommers down. However, I think it's a bit unfair to the uninitiated to read all of the glowing reviews other people have written about this release. Perhaps you might like this but it did nothing for me.
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Format: Audio CD
With ovalcommers, Markus Popp has reached a new level of intricately composed and overwhelmingly complex soundart. Where the earlier releases (oval94Diskont, systemische) saw the adolescence of his CD-skipping sound sources, ovalprocess and now ovalcommers are fully mature, adult works that reach a pitch of dizzying alienation. It is clear that Popp has a musical mind quite different from your average western composer, even those who work in a similar genre, like those the music fan from san francisco mentioned: autechre, kid606, et al. I disagree with the claim that oval is in some sound-distortion competition with these bands; his compositions are focused on different aspects of electronic sound. Where kid606 and autechre still revolve around an axis that is predominantly a rhythmic one, oval's axis is clearly textural--not based on rhythm or melody, but on layers and simultaneity of sound events--popp doesn't shrink from disjoining any rhythmic or melodic cells from their pitch or tempo, nor (as seen as early as systemische's "oval office") dealing with with simultaneous cells that occupy disparate tempi or harmonic temperaments. This is sound for sound's sake--not a comment on more linear electronica, as a great deal of the work of autechre's ilk tends to be. This is not to say that one is better than the other, it is just to point out fundamental aesthetic difference.
So I definitely recommend this to those exposed to oval--for fans of similar music, i'd recommend starting with systemische, or oval94diskont and then getting ovalprocess or ovalcommers. Also check out Nobukazu Takemura's _scope_.
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By A Customer on May 23 2001
Format: Audio CD
"Commers" is basically a collection of remixed "Ovalprocess" songs, most notably its mysterious bonus tracks.
That said, I imagine "Commers" to be hallunigenic flashbacks of the decaying, night-fallen 22nd-century city, that "Process" documented so well. The sounds of commerical images and noises saturating your mind, along with Markus Popp's famous "digital errors" are much more free-form and intoxicating.
And like "Process," there is great beauty beneath the alien discord. Track#6 erupts like a hit of sunshine that knocks you awake on a summer morning. Track#8 recalls "Gabba Nation," in its anthemic warmth and frolicsome melody. I agree with the amazon.com editor, where track#1 does paint the image of neon rainshower falling on a city.
However, like "Process," it still has its moments of tedium. Most of the tracks are obscured by stabs of ear-piercing guitar feedback. But what I mainly dislike is how Popp frequently disrupts the melodies with layers of excessive distortion; giving me an itchy finger for the "skip" button. I believe that Popp is trying to compete in the "I f*** things up better than you!" contest with Autechre, Kid 606, Squarepusher and the rest of the IDM crowd.
Overall, I can't say that "Commers" is another milestone for Oval, since it is obviously an extention of "Process." But it is still fascinating as hell, and is much more stimulating than what passes for "art" on MTV or the Grammys.
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