Friday, 12 April 2013

OH/EX/OH - The House In The Woods

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


Manchester's OH/EX/OH are proving themselves to be prolific kings of the ambient drone, quickly following up December's 'Extant' album with a brand new set of opinion-splitting pieces of drawn-out, atmospheric sounds. 'The House In The Woods' sounds (and judging by the cover, looks) like a much darker proposition, and for the most part that could be true. Song title examples: 'Waiting Room In Hell', 'The Necromicon', 'Dark Moors', 'Beneath The Water'. Yet with music of this variety, the way it comes across to the listener very much depends on their circumstances at the time. Happy or sad, day or night, sunny or raining, optimistic or pessimistic, energetic or lethargic. We could go on.

What will, as ever, be the case with 'The House In The Woods' is that it will simply float over many people's heads (and if ever music was designed to float, this is surely it) without them having the faintest inkling of the point of it all. A single note drawn out for over five minutes with barely any other additions as on 'Waiting Room To Hell'? What's the point? Well that is the point, and you either get it or you don't. OH/EX/OH don't exist in the world of pop or rock music, they exist on a different plane altogether, and 'The House In The Woods' is simply another example of this. Set to be treasured by few and misunderstood and ignored by the majority.

Is it possible to pick out highlight from a record of this nature? Some might think not, but personally the misty vision of 'Stay Asleep' resonates particularly well and we nearly get a proper song in 'From Dusk Till Dawn' with its use of percussion and more varied instrumentation, it could almost be early Pink Floyd. On 'End Titles (Lola's Theme)' we also get more activity, some of it borrowed from Giorgio Moroder's 'Tears'. The sheer desolation of 'Dark Moors' makes it worthy of a mention, and the skill in crafting such an atmosphere from such minimal noise and still managing to allow the song to build. It almost seems silly to try and rate this album, as it's not really the sort of music you can rate. It's music that you either get or you don't, and only you can be the judge of that.




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