oOoOO, oOoOO EP

[Tri Angle]


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With time, growth and money, most underground genres end up watered down and co-opted to align with more commercial tastes. Drum ‘n bass has long since escaped its niche following; after having its biggest pop moment years ago, aspects of house and techno are presently the bread and butter of chart acts the world over; even dubstep is being coated in consumer-friendly sugar by the likes of Magnetic Man as we speak. What’s less likely, however, is for the tides of taste to shift in the opposite direction, dragging the world of pop from its comfortable cradle of celebrity and glamor into the murkier, shrouded shadows of music.

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Christopher Dexter Greenspan, known on record as oOoOO, is at pains to make such a phenomenon occur. For a man who’s chosen such a consumer-unfriendly moniker, he’s attested in interviews a greater affinity to Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera than his peers who’ve been described, fairly or not, as witch house/drag. But whereas Salem, the somewhat reluctant forefathers of the genre, often trade in bleak disquiet on their tracks, there are more obvious examples of pop influences on oOoOO’s debut EP. The vocals on the record, while often bordering on indistinguishable, share the same graceful and charming characteristics of the voices heard gushing out of commercial radio and television. “Hearts” and “Burnout Eyess” have the feel of authentic R&B hits trapped in a moody, industrial wasteland, destined to wander forlornly in search of warmth, comfort, and acceptance. Even in the darker areas of the EP, such as droning, stuttering opener, “Mumbai,” it’s difficult to feel crushed by the weight of the record, as oOoOO always channels an aspect — even if just the faintest snatch — of pop admiration in his music.

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In fact, the whole record has the strain of a man whose love for the accessible is almost a melancholy consumption in his own life. His tracks seem to struggle with themselves, seeking to carve some kind of identity they can settle on. “Plains Is Hot,” the final oOoOO production on the EP before the┬áVisions of Trees remix of “Burnout Eyess,” layers a floating yet dejected female vocal with repressive bass thuds and synths repeating into abject submission, as if resigning themselves to always being darkened reflections of pop rather than pop itself. Against the odds, this EP is a poignantly beautiful expression of both the mainstream and singularity, a manifestation of one man’s affections for a world unlikely to accept him.

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