Artist: André de Saint–Obin
title: Sound On Sound
keywords: post-punk, minimal wave, experimental, lo-fi, electronic,
label: Korm Plastics http://www.kormplastics.nl
reviewer: Mark X
Are you in for a ride in a time machine, and visit the rougher alternative sides of the eighties? No, imitations and definitely no eighties rip-offs aka vaporwave alla carte; I’m talking about the real deal over here. It’s an re-release of an eighties tape by ‘Andre de Saint – Obin’ named ‘Sound On Sound’, which is lovingly resurrected because of its obviously ‘must-hear’ entertainment value.
The release consists of eighteen tracks all recorded between 1980 and 1982.
It’s a real jump to go from the squeaky clean sounds of overdone studio productions to the raw vibes and recording environment of this album; but after a bit of ear adjustment and sentiment adoration, things start to become more and more enjoyable.
Throughout this album the ears will be greeted by roughly played guitar, a pounding rhythm machine, strange audio experimentations, distintive punk-ish wave singing, layers recorded on layers creating a vibe that honestly delivers what to me feels like a tripping dope show, something that might be interpreted as heroin for the ears. It’s clear that this musician is clearly in the moment of music making, completely absorbed by it as if it’s the only thing that kept him going; a key element to great music really.
Compared to the loads of rock-bands with people that don’t live a rockers life on the edge, it is really refreshing to hear music that simply is sounding like the ‘real deal’. Music that is actually music for the sake of expression and being music, a rough bite because life was probably tough, but there is also lots of room for humor and surprising experimentation. It’s as if the artist had no heroes, no other artists to emulate and just brings out himself with all his personal artefacts.
eccentricity is the keyword that comes to mind when hearing the style of music,
rough, dirty, dark, tough, bonkers with a hint of paranoia without ever losing the plot.
There is tons of energy in these tunes, unexpected provocative weirdness mixed with a pair of good balls of steel. Punk, edgy and freaking cut-you-open-with-a-razor-while-sipping-whisky gloominess!
With songs about depression, desolation, self-hate, the lack of a future and even suicide; it is a miracle that label owner who re-released this album, was actually able to track the artist down to make this re-release possible. I guess the future wasn’t so bleak after all.
These creative experimental tunes are not only very interesting to hear, but also have an interesting story to them as how it is made. It explains the rough edge side of the recording and perhaps also why the music is sounding so full surprises. Lucky the artist recalls how these amazing tunes came about;
What Is Sound On Sound?
I would start by recording a rhythm, a loop, a guitar riff or bass line onto one of the two stereo channels of my revox a77 tape recorder (for example, the left channel). Usually when i started a track, I had no idea what the song would turn out to be. I would only have an groove,. It was important for me to lay down some structure. (a intro, a chorus or break, etc) because once i began there’s no going back. I’d play back this first track, and then record the next instrument onto the other (right) channel. Yes, it’s all in glorious mono! For the third instrument, I’d go back to the left channel deleting the very first recording etc. On some occasions, I did this live on stage using a giant, over-three-minute-long tape loop, No room for mistakes!)
Reading this, you might think the artist would keep it simple, but the actual music comes across quite complex, which is extraordinary if you think that it basically has been puzzled up all in the musicians head. Perhaps he had no idea from the beginning but as a whole everything sounds super tight, out of the box, free of stiff genre boxes and if you can see through the darkness; lots of fun too!
The content might be down, but the music is up and exciting! Think strange voices, wicked synthesizer uses, great riffs, bizarre constructions that simply rock without going for the easy way. The label was right to trace this artist down to ask permission to re-release this re-mastered tape album, as most definitely this is the stuff that deserves to be heard!
Music lovers in the US and Canada can turn to distributor Aquarius Records to order one of these hot copies.. For the rest of the world (including Europe!) you are able to obtain one of these 500 copies, (pressed on 175 gramms vinyl with full color inserts!) directly from the responsible Korm Plastics label;