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Under the Oval moniker, electronic veteran Markus Popp pulls some organic feel out of the computer he’s used to create his latest opus, Scis. Popp describes it as ‘new vintage’ a way of making old things new and new things seem familiar. All in all it’s another cracker. On Thrill Jockey.

Limited Vinyl LP £24.49 THRILL514LPX

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CD £13.99 THRILL514CD

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REVIEWS

Scis by Oval
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Will 09 January 2020

There's a painting by the Bauhaus artist Paul Klee called 'Highways and Byways' that I like very much. It consists of hundreds of spindly lines intersecting and crossing to form a bewildering array of rectangles, trapeziums, and parallelograms. Although the medium, paint on canvas, is organic, the effect is semi-digital. At some points, the density of the shapes is so great that the painting almost disappears into itself. Oval's new album 'Scis' reminded me of 'Highways and Byways' because they are both formed of granular fragments that have coalesced into an uneasy whole. A good deal of Oval's new album is sourced from acoustic instruments, so although the individual parts are recognisable the arragement renders them unfamiliar.

The arrangements on 'Scis' are constructed by lots of tiny loops that feedback and cycle. For all its impassiveness, there's still a nice progression to lots of these pieces. They aren't purely exercises in weirdness. Aside from the obvious glitch influence, there are nods to electronica and breakcore. A lot of glitch music feels dystopian and without feeling, but the electronica influences on 'Scis' lend it a lovely, warm spaciness. 

Both 'Highways and Byways' and 'Scis' are initially a bit intimidating. They aren't traditionally accessible pieces of art. However, you've got to let them lead you, rather than try pinning them down. I suppose they are ambient pieces of art, in a way. Just allow them to wash over you. They are to be appreciated as a whole.




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