19 February 2018


vienna press 2018

"Following a contribution on the recent Vienna Press compilation, Under Gange marks øjeRum's debut on the label proper. It combines, over a double cassette spread, two discrete suites of graceful arrangements. Taken together, they present an extended study of sombre movements for strings, piano and synthesizer. // øjeRum is the primary sound project of Copenhagen resident, Paw Grabowski, also a prolific visual artist who is well known for his collage work. øjeRum has released a succession of quality releases of on imprints such as AVA and Vaald, among others. // 2 x c32, White cassettes / clear cases. Duplicated in real time on Luxman machines." - VIENNA PRESS

i've been obsessively collecting OJERUM tapes since his first one SANGE TIL DOENDE emerged in 2014 courtesy HORROR FICTION - GRABOWSKI has a penchant for handmade micro editions, initially as supplemental EPs and then as intimate reissues or parallel variants and revisions, uniquely artworked and stylized, some of the coolest tapes i have ever seen

i do not intend to portray favorites like HVID HVILE or NAAR VI VAAGNER or STILHEDENS as less than excellent - to be clear, i think -everything- with OJERUM's name on it is well worth having - but despite my dedicated fanaticism, i must admit --in part due to its unrealistic bar-setting showstopping perfection which i'm in no hurry to refute-- i haven't experienced that feathery knock out punch that SANGE so effortlessly delivers since, well, SANGE

by that measure i suppose UNDER GANGE is a return to rare form, as it finds GRABOWSKI simultaneously reinforcing his established style while incorporating new elements, sometimes comfortably cultivating a familiar fertile soundscape, other times navigating into adjacent territories sharing a border or two with SKITTISH ARM, and beyond toward zones sparsely and infrequently inhabited by the soft underbelly of european post industrial dark ambient dronemakers like C.L. LOBBESTAEL and TREADING BLOOM

the key to UNDER GANGE is the attention to detail, the nuance - this separates UNDER GANGE from the pack, both contemporaneously and intra-catalog - these loop like structures don't just reel you in, they come alive, without any unforced errors like gratuitous clutter - there's no undue gimmick or over-saturation like i often find in my pursuit of new weird ambient drone - this is the good stuff, and -only- the good stuff, and by that i mean in no uncertain terms that UNDER GANGE is -at least- the best OJERUM since SANGE, if not his best outright

fluid audio 2017

"Mistakes are quickly erased in a world that wishes to erase flaws, but imperfections can be perfect things, too, and that's true of Needleshaped Silence, a collection of muted tracks from øjeRum wherein the past reassembles itself to permeate the present. Accidental sounds become firm roots that can't be displaced, and its solid foundations become defined things which, thanks to the slightly worn, decade-dulled layers around them, don't sound like accidents at all. It isn't always quiet in a dynamic sense: quiet music can be quietly-toned and not necessarily quiet in its overall volume, and it also dismisses the stale, carbon-copy approach of the recording process.

Like a collage, single tracks were taken and moulded anew using the same old software as before. Introverted sounds that were once buried under the woolen clothing of outer layers are now reluctantly exposed, arriving at the forefront of the music. øjeRum added that he 'preferred the seemingly random, anonymous, silent and unpretentious sounds, recorded as mere backdrops and never intended to come to the fore'. Chance encounters are essential ingredients in the magic spell, but the transitions are so subtle as to seem invisible. A new sound slips easily into the old, and Aaron Martin's additional strings help in fleshing the tones out, supporting them in their first steps and hovering around the quivering vibrations, the subdued frequencies. Deeper and deeper the record descends, until the atmosphere sails through a pair of gates and into the inner reaches of the mind, its own kind of deeper-toned ambient seeming to be a perfect fit for the inner cosmos, coming across at times as a sister of space-ambient. Black sunshine fills the world of Needleshaped Silence, its sobering strings levitating in and around the quavering, flexible tones, its near-silent music lit by the past's dull solar flares." - FLUID AUDIO

i was particularly excited to hear this, as with the perfect pairing of SISTER GROTTO and BRAEYDEN JAE on the phenomenal collaboration BORN TO LOSE/BORN TO LEAVE, i figured if there was one artist perfect for a collaboration with OJERUM it would be AARON MARTIN, whose IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT WHEN EVERYTHING IS ASLEEP (also via FLUID AUDIO) made my 2016 top ten non-cassette list - and much like that collaboration where LEONARDO ROSADO provided textural soundscapes within which MARTIN operated, here OJERUM provides these sparse yet engrossing structures, a solemn sonic framework, and then MARTIN expertly adds exquisite string elements, well reserved and perfectly complimentary to OJERUM's flickering ambient drone backdrop, further deepening the emotional immersion of the resultant work, and it is breathtaking - i shouldn't have let this one sit by the wayside as long as i did, and this should not have been absent from my year end non-cassette list

preserved sound 2018

"sees him returning to the memory-based recordings of previous albums such as Almond, River Water and Chautauqua, where layered meanings in the music and titles don't allow a single clear-cut reading of the music. 'A Room Now Empty is similar to the concept of Day Has Ended where Christoph Berg and I created music to encompass the passing of a day, but stretched out for the passing of a lifetime or at least a portion of a lifetime' says Aaron. Using cello, electric guitar, bass, roll up piano, banjo, concertina, acoustic guitar, voice, ukulele, singing bowls and lap steel, A Room Now Empty keeps the same intimacy and directness of Aaron's previous albums, with a slightly more processed sound creating distance within the music. / Mastered by Ian Hawgood" - PRESERVED SOUND

released just three weeks ago and PRESERVED SOUND already has a second edition coming down the pike - while perhaps not the over the top exuberant artifact that is FLUID AUDIO's cd packaging modus operandi, A ROOM NOW EMPTY has the best cover artwork i've seen this year thus far (courtesy OJERUM no less, as with the other two titles here) --it has me thinkin, i should spend more time blurbing about the physical aspect of all this stuff, or at least an annual revue, because a lot of this stuff is almost as impressive visually as it is aurally

but, aurally, A ROOM NOW EMPTY is the finest showcase of MARTIN's skill and talent, at least that i've heard anyway, moody modern classical constructs with contemplative traditional abstracts and a tempered experimental edge that cuts straight through a black and white cinematic veil to a much more potent level of intimacy and realism exceeding and wholly independent of any forced imagery or even situational suggestion therein - in that way -and also to some extent sonically albeit tangentially- i find some comparison to STEVEN R. SMITH's most subdued sides, as well as AURALGAMI SOUNDS SERIES contributions from ROB COLLIER and SARA SOLTAU, closing in on SEAN MCCANN's RECITAL imprint where i think MARTIN would fit right in -- to be sure, there -are- vivid images and situations, thoughts and emotions, that appear associated when i listen, but i bring those to the table, knowingly or not, as the artist by way of the music allows - such is a hallmark of a well crafted close listening experience