OOIOO – Gamel (Thrill Jockey)
Javanese experimentalists, OOIOO release their new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
It is believed that the word ‘gamel’ is a type of mallet with which instruments are hit, leading to the word ‘gamelan’ which represents a traditional form of music from Java and Bali. Fitting, as the new album from OOIOO contains large amounts of thumping and pounding.
Possibly the Indonesian equivalent of European industrial pop? Whatever the case, Gamel is inspiring. Undoubtedly impulsive on occasion, the album exudes power and originality in equal measure. From the opening of Don Ah with its rising scales it’s clear that this is not an album to underestimate. An album four years in the making and it’s easy to see why. It may often be improvised, but the idea behind the music, which incorporates a traditional genre with their own distorted agenda is, to say the least, fascinating.
Yoshimio, formerly of UFO Or Die and Bored (with whom she played drums) also adds keyboards and the trumpet to her repertoire. Ensuring that the remainder of OOIOO move completely under her lesson Gamel progresses in tone and balance as quickly as it does in volume and intensity. Percussion, musical box sounadlikes, chanting and general madcap antics come together to form unique tracks of the highest order. Gamel Ninna Yama includes prog rock guitar, brass instruments and synth effects all underpinned by tribal sounding beats.
Chimes appear in Gamel Kamasu accompanied by trumpet and familial shouting and even hints of western funk are present on Atatawa. If mind bending music is what you crave then Gamel is the album for you. Originality and tradition share the same groove, keeping music of historic relevance alive yet creating something completely new. OOIOO are adventurous yet respectful of their heritage in this captivating and absorbing collection.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.