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Oyaarss – the epic surfeit

Published November, 2013
by Easterndaze

The grandiosity of club music created on the axis of HD sonic gloss and compression-on-the-master become a criterion itself. It may seem rather awkward to mention it here, but there’s a great lesson to be learned from the opening sequence of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. The high quality of the slowed down image of beach utopia works in accord with Skrillex Scary Monsters and super creeps points out the characteristic of the sound, the pornographic HD quality, which is something dodgining the danger of retromania, so present in today’s club music.

It’s easy to forget, however, that this particular area, the area of oversaturated club sounds was already explored by a handful of artists ranging from Alec Empire’s Digital Hardcore to Berlin-based Ad Noiseam. One of the things that are left after generic dubstep faded is the sound of epic surfeit represented by Latvian Arvids Laivinieks (aka Oyaarss).

Taking a step towards instrumentals and unorthodox samples, he’s trying to bring a certain therapy to effect. The grandiosity of stomping broken dubstep is surrounded with sounds of a more “noble” origin, developing a story in which the overused wobbling sounds are reestablished as equal elements of the whole track. Having produced two LP’s on aforementioned Ad Noiseam and a handful of remixes, Oyaarss is developing his use of painfully known sounds and references, putting them in relatively new contexts.

Bads (‘hunger’ in Latvian) is comprised of rather cheesy, almost childish melodies getting a bump from consequently applied bass of a relentless nature. Sounding quite like an intro of “Top Gun” set in 2045, its however essentially rooted in a very inquisitive nature of Laivinieks’ seekings. In Malduguns, he starts with the folkish clap sample, adding a guitar sample coming on and off-beat and a trademark distorted half-stepping kickdrum appearing here and there. In the following Seja tumši vaibsti he uses rave/psytrance voiceover mixing with the sound of the birds, leaving listener with an uncanny feeling. Yeah, you’ve just been exposed to the samples of a very base nature. But it did make sense. And why the hell can you hear a marimba there?

Bads by Oyaarss

With “Smaida Greizi Nākamība” (‘the future smiles wryly’) he follows the path of joining the dots of the quite obvious cinematic ambiences (the names of Peteris Vasks and Zbigniew Preisner arise), Warhammer 40,000 ambiences, the beats of the future as envisioned in 2001 and acoustic guitars, glitches, plainly put – everything. The whole of the album sounds, however, incredibly coherent. It’s a valuable tool to get rid of any generical preconceptions. The track “Vienaldzigo parmainu muzika” (along with its title – meaning ‘music of irrelevant changes’) expresses the spontaneity of Oyaarss musical choices. It’s quite a conservative jazz piece performed by pianist Edgars Raginski, contrasted with breakcore-ish, yet paradoxically smooth ‘Laimigas Beigas’ (just listen to these hi-hats!).

Smaida Greizi Nakamiba by Oyaarss

Every piece that constitutes Oyaarss works is either droning, too loud, too cheesy, too quiet, out of place or tune, but in the end it’s the structure that matters – especially when listening to the whole album, we can observe sound cliches becoming totally recontextualized. Yes, it can be hard – but who said experimentalism must be about running ahead and not about dealing with the coarseness of the sample-oriented world with utmost seriousness?

by Jacek Plewicki