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(57:25, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Noise 7:43 2. Sailor Song 6:58 3. 7/6 5:30 4. Sea 6:16 5. Morning 4:57 6. Prayer 7:52 7. Rain & Wind 6:58 8. Mountain Song 6:25 9. Unnamed 4:46 LINEUP: Vladislav vocals, bass Amour Kosarev violin Ed Afanasiev guitars Fiodor Shi guitars Alexey Khudyakov drums
Prolusion. The Russian band OSHEAN is a young outfit, formed back in 2010, as far as I can tell. Information about the band is sparse, but they have five members and released their debut album "Live" in the spring of 2012 through the Russian label MALS Records.
Analysis. On MALS Records information page about Oshean, it is stated that their music is of such a character that if they played all their songs without breaks between, it would be difficult to tell when one song ends and the next one start. In other words, their compositions are fairly similar in style, composition and structure alike, the matter most commonly described as post rock among other bands exploring the same approach. This type of music is generally characterized by a textured use of instruments in general and by the guitars in particular. In this case we have two guitarists and one violinist applying the textured motifs, supported by a bassist and a drummer. The bassist also handles vocal duties, and again as described on MALS Records information page: the singing supplements the instrumentation rather than being the element in focus in the vocal passages. The compositional approach of this band sticks to something of a set formula, with an ebb and flow approach to structure and intensity. The songs tend to open in a gentle, dampened manner, with both guitars delivering motifs of a swirling, echoing or resonating nature, and in a fragile manner. The violin hovers on top, while bass and drums lay out the pace and rhythm foundation carefully beneath. What follows are repetitions with gradual build up of intensity or a slow development that strengthens the overall impact, and at some point we're provided with a sudden shift into an arrangement markedly more massive in nature, most commonly with a darker toned, massive guitar texture supplemented by a more energetic light toned swirling guitar motif, with the violin again hovering on top. This is followed by either a gradual wind down towards the initial phase of the composition again or a sudden shift back to the opening theme, in some instances with a further repetition of the ebb and flow structure prior to the final phase. Some minor variations are applied to this formula, with pace increases and decreases or intermediate passages inserted, but by and large this album sticks to this general approach throughout. Such a uniform expression and approach does result in an album that does lack a bit of identity. If you're in the mood for music of this type, you can more or less pull out any of these tracks at random a strength and a weakness both, for those who listen to one of their songs and like it they will be guaranteed to enjoy the rest of the album, but vice versa if the opposite is the case. Personally I found this CD to be a fairly engaging one, the sheer beauty of the calmer sequences and the more distinct contrast utilized in the harder hitting ones an effective pair off.
Conclusion. Post rock is a subset of rock music that isn't to everybody's taste, especially the purebred variety of it that Russian band Ohsean has chosen to explore. Their uniform overall approach is of a kind that this is a band that you know you'll either like or dislike quickly though, so if you're a general fan of this type of music or merely curious, check them out and pick a song at random. After it's finished you'll then know whether or not this is a band that warrants a further inspection.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 7, 2012
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