Oxykitten – Octagonal WaxPosted by Jason Simpson
On Octagonal Wax, Wayne Longer, aka Oxykitten, conjures images of interstellar travel and abandoned shopping malls with an arsenal of vintage synths and rickety drum machines.
In the press release, Field Hymns described Octagonal Wax as “synth-pop instrumentals from an indeterminate era”. Like kindred spirits Ghost Box, Longer seems (circuit) bent on recreating a past he can believe in. The majority of the tracks on Octagonal sound straight out of a mid- 70s space opera, but the beats are just a little TOO tight for the simulation to be complete. Octagonal Wax is retro-futuristic, sure, but it removes most of the dystopian social commentary and buried cynicism, instead focusing on making a feel good party record for sci-fi nerds and synth enthusiasts.
The warmth and unpredicability of the analog gear, matched with 2012′s production standards make Octagonal Wax a catchy, energetic listen. In the wikipedia article on retro-futurism they break the style down into two trends: retro futurism and futuristic retro. The first is accomplished by Longer’s application of solely vintage equipment. His synths rumble and squelch like nobody’s business, going a long way towards validating the authenticity of the illusion. The second, the futuristic retro, can be heard in the way he layers his synths with crisp, well-recorded beats. The listener is transported to a time outside of time, where they can choose the aspects of an era that they want, and discard the rest.
Oxykitten is not purely style, however. Longer shows himself to have major songwriting talent. The disparate synthesizers on album opener “50 Times Higher Than Any Man” dance and weave about likelike electric-counterpoint. The synth strings on “Drowning Inside” sound like Giorgio Moroder‘s dreams of flying. But the real beating heart of the record is the synth bass, which burns and growls like a boar on fire. The frequency range of this record is warm and full, with the sounds expertly placed all around the stereo field. There is no conflict, nothing to break the spell.
Octagonal Wax takes you to a different world, and reveals fresh treasures with each journey.
RIYL:Boards of Canada, Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, old dusty library records, a good time