| Recollection | OTI
Time: July 05
Media: Digital Download
Info: A journey across both powerful and peaceful
sonic territories, incorporating field recordings from
the artist's childhood and a recent expedition to Poland.
Artist website: http://www.discogs.com/
01. The First Page
02. Mass Inhabitance (Poland)
03. Large Open Spaces
05. Another Kind
06. Born Inside
07. The Recollection (Warsaw)
08. One Day In May, 1998
09. She Listens
10. Little Tummies (For Sinead)
|REVIEWS | Recollection
WIND & WIRE
Sometimes, as a reviewer of ambient music, I'm tempted to throw up my "virtual hands," and merely write "Well,
this is one helluva cool album but I sure as hell can't accurately describe it, so take it on faith and buy it!" Of
course, if I value my rep as a half-decent reviewer, I can never do that. So, I'm left to scratch my head and come
up with some way of detailing a recording that is neigh impossible to distill into words, which brings me to
Recollection from OTI (a.k.a. Daimon Beail) whom I have never heard before this. So, while I have no doubt I'm
going to come up short in this review of conveying how marvelous this CD is, here goes.
Recollection is one of the rare albums in ambient that I refer to as "immersive" experiences. By combining ambient
music (washes, tones, drones, snippets of melody, as well as sparse beats and rhythms, all of which are on the
minimal and subtle side of the meter) with found sounds, environmental recordings, sonically captured moments
of time during which people are heard conversing, laughing, or simply living, and manipulating all of these elements
in order to form a cohesive recorded event, Beail has, in a nutshell, invited us to walk with him as he traverses
time, space and personal history. I know that sounds awfully pretentious, but this is one of the most human and
humane ambient recordings in recent memory (maybe forever). It is simply amazing, as the listener is drawn into
these intensely personal soundscapes that feel almost too intimate at times (the effect stops just short of being
voyeuristic). What emerges from all this is a recording that is nothing less than a seamless combination of portrait
and mirror, a portal not just into the mind and "recollections" of the artist, but also an opportunity for the listener to
indulge him or herself and walk down his or her own personal corridors of the his/her past.
The album is centered around four lengthy (average time = 14 minutes or so) tracks, accompanied by some
shorter duration ones. The first of these long cuts is "Mass Inhabitance (Poland)" and forget trying to describe it.
It includes the following: church bells, church organ, backwards loops, soft drones, hushed echoed dialogue,
bleeping radar-like tones, radio interference noises, melodic swirling synth washes, ominous yet approachable
drones flowing underneath subdued by infectious dance beats...all that is in the first half of this one song! "The
Recollection (Warsaw)" is the longest selection at seventeen plus minutes and it's an ultra-ambitious piece that
opens with an assortment of electronic effects and gently twinkling synth notes, as well as static-like interference,
melds into echoed reverberations, more overt radio static, strange distorted vocal samples, delicate chimes, and
moves into a segment with field recordings of people who are walking, talking, and even someone announcing
over a p.a. system, all set amidst a gentle backdrop of electronic musings, textures, and stray patches of melody
Okay, you're hopefully now getting the idea that this review is pretty damn pointless from a literal standpoint. What
can I write to convince you this is a fucking brilliant recording? The album covers a wide variety of moods and
evocations (from positively cheery and maybe even playful to sorrowful and somber, if not downright dark and
disturbing), but does all this while maintaining a relative calm center and an abundance of accessibility, even within
an experimental context....whew, I mean, thank god I'm almost retired as a reviewer because I couldn't analyze or
critique many more albums this rich with musical nuance yet full of emotional depth. It's just too damn difficult!
I seldom resort to quoting press material, but in an attempt to more accurately portray what this CD is actually
about, allow me to excerpt from Audiobulb's (the label) webpage for this recording: "A journey across both
powerful and peaceful sonic territories, incorporating field recordings from the artist's childhood and a recent
expedition to Poland. Recollection is the result of years of work for OTI...Recollection is OTI's attempt to capture
his life experience and re-contextualise these moments through audio composition. The result is a highly evocative,
organic and intimate portrayal of time and place. Designed to support the listener to bring forth their own
recollections this album is the perfect foil for becoming immersed in thought, feeling and memory. "
I couldn't have said it better myself (although I sure tried). Added to the above, I'll merely add that Daimon Beail has
released an achievement that few will equal any time soon when it comes to peering inside the mind and soul of a
musician. That the album emerges from his inner voyage of discovery and creation as something both listenable
and engaging, yet daring and provocative, is not just a startling achievement, but a revelation of the extended
boundaries of ambient music as an art form. Need I say how strongly I recommend this CD?
From the first moment, when the sounds of a scratchy vinyl record and distant bells form a subtle beat, it’s clear
the OTI’s Recollection is a classic-style ambient piece, more feeling than mundane musicality. Puporting to be a
retelling in sound of the composer’s life, Recollection wrings deep emotional content from minimalistic output.
Impressions built from a wide variety of sounds drift by on cool drone-waves like REM-sleep glimpses of the
world. And it’s not always a pleasant world. Children’s voices in "Large Open Spaces" become sharp and
grating, with a sense of something being wrong as they ride exquisitely over a New Age keyboard melody. It’s
a perfect juxtaposition. Mocking electronic laughter in "Another kind" is genuinely disturbing. Across its length,
Recollection moves through spaces both light and dark. The sound selections are intriguing and immersive; the
drones that form the musical base are elegantly minimalist and waver between calming and foreboding. This is
a CD worth repeated deep listens. OTI has put an amazing amount of detail into it.
Ambient music doesn't get more personal than this. Daimon Beail (aka. OTI) has put together true ambience of
field recordings from his childhood (and a recent trip to Poland) with electronic music. Presenting both field
recordings and music isn't a new idea, it's been done many times with varying degrees of success - most
often using nature sounds. There is something unique about Recollection though; I think this is because most
of the sounds have an intimacy that draws the listener in.
An album with such personal themes as this one is bound to visit a variety of emotions and moods. There are
moments of fun and happiness like the sound of a family playing in "Lssarge Open Spaces", but a lot of tracks
are serious minded, and even disquieting in places. I didn't know what to make of "Another Kind" which in my
opinion is the most intriguing of the ten tracks. Here bizarre animal like grumblings combine with telephonic
tones, highly speeded up voices, and falling rain - to name just a few of the sounds in the backdrop. Further
in the piece becomes musical as droney washes gain in prominence along with a briefly repeating voice.
It's well nigh impossible to describe Recollection well in words, yet I'm doing what I can. It stands as an aural
work of impressionistic art, not aesthetically pleasing from every angle but constructed with an ear for detail
and trying to make sense of one's life. If any of the sounds trigger memories in the listener then Daimon has
achieved that part of his goal for this album.
The real gem of a track is the second one, "Mass Inhabitance (Poland)". A repeatedly hit bell (or gong) starts
off and quickly gives way to aimless notes on something like a xylophone, and then an organ. These too drop
off as a drone and numerous sonics take over and slowly develop, eventually meeting up with a quick metallic
percussion and plodding beat. The whole track is atmospheric with a capital A!
Recollection needs the listener's undivided attention to be fully appreciated, it's one of those where more will
be discovered each time it's played. Much of it can be thought of as an aural experience rather than music per
se, at times it feels like we're intruding on another person's life. I can recommend this work simply because it is
unusual in a positive sense. I've never encountered anything like it before; it surely belongs in the collections of
all true ambient fans.
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