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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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_.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Ovalcommers is an amazing headphone experience. I would have to say that this is one of my most beloved possesions. Read morePublished on May 13 2002 by Neighbor 8
This is glitch grown up. Minimal digital repetitions of previous works (which I love and have nothing against) have been replaced by the all too rare "melody," carving traditional... Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2001 by casey
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