O. – ‘Slice’ EP review: two artists with an undeniable synergy

O. – ‘Slice’ EP review: two artists with an undeniable synergy

2020’s lockdowns undoubtedly spawned a string of ambitious new musical projects, some more visionary than others – many of which have already met their inevitable demise. It’s by no means a new story, yet the latest offering from cult label Speedy Wunderground retells the tale with fresh energy. Birthed from an era of vacant streets and shuttered venues are O., a duo seemingly united in a desire to make as much noise as possible, with as few instruments.

On their debut EP ‘Slice’, drummer Tash Keary and baritone saxophonist Joseph Henwood overlap genres to make a record with one foot in the capital’s historic jazz bars and another in its underground venues south of the river. Scooping an eclectic mix of our most vibrant music scenes onto one EP, O. manage to expertly tread the line between the urgent energy of experimental rock and jazz improvisation.

With production from Dan Carey that carefully captures O.’s frenzied live energy, ‘Slice’ shines in its ability to deliver the unexpected. Moments of stillness ascend into weighty tension, before collapsing into sudden crescendos of volatile force. It’s in these moments that the project’s origin as a jam session comes into focus, and their strengths reveal themselves.

A consistent thread of urgency, emphasised by Keary’s frantic drumming, weaves itself throughout the four tracks, looping through the eerie, spy movie soundtrack-esque opening of ‘Moon’ to the dense reverb that underlines ‘Grouchy’. Best, though, is title track ‘Slice’, which somehow channels equal levels of chaotic darkness and clear joy. Elsewhere, ‘ATM’ teeters further into punk with its glitchy, otherworldly manipulation of Henwood’s sax, which is reimagined to exist in another realm from its original form.

Two artists with an undeniable synergy, O.’s debut is a statement that often feels menacing while also offering real moments of brightness and euphoria. It’s a sensory overload that’s as indebted to the unpredictable nature of live music as to its simple origins as a pandemic jam session.


Release date: November 24
Record label: Speedy Wunderground

The post O. – ‘Slice’ EP review: two artists with an undeniable synergy appeared first on NME.

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