Oskar Offermann, Distance is Depth

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Artwork by Snedker Studio

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Vocal samples have an uncomfortable history with dance music. At times, they’ve been used tastefully, with great success. Talented producers find a zingy lyrical snippet, creatively re-purpose it, and a hit is born. Then there’s the times where hacks decide to rip an entire Martin Luther King Jr. speech and slap it over a beat. There are stops between the two extremes, of course, but the fact remains that sampled vocals can be dangerous. It’s interesting, then, to see Oskar Offermann tackling the issue with his latest record, Distance Is Depth. Over the past five years or so, the German has amassed a gem-packed discography, most of it made up of instrumentals, and including the criminally overlooked Do Pilots Still Dream of Flying? LP. He clearly doesn’t need to lean on samples the way average producers are often tempted to. And yet, just once, it feels like Distance Is Depth does exactly that.

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The very first sound in “4th Dimension” is a cheesy stanza announcing, “It’s like I’m in the fourth dimension.” As it repeats, it threatens genuine monotony. Displaying his usual talent, though, Offermann lathers the sample into a strident rhythm with the help of big, fuzzy kicks before washing it all away with a gorgeous string melody. The sample in “Here Before” feels almost as arbitrary, but the track’s fizzing colors dart across the spectrum with such vibrancy and repetition that the stark words end up a welcome counterpoint. Strangely enough, the only place where Offermann seems to have missed the mark is the title track. Its musical credentials are no less impressive than the other cuts, but they’re overshadowed by a tedious discussion about quality and competition in the music industry. It’s not quite as painful as the ubiquitous MLK speech, but it’s close. Distance Is Depth is a great record, so long as you can remember not to drop the needle on this middle track.

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds February Charts 2014 – Little White Earbuds  on February 28, 2014 at 12:02 AM

[…] Bunker New York] (buy) 09. Seixlack, “Tele-Sexo” [40% Foda/Maneirissimo ] (buy) 10. Oskar Offermann, “4th Dimension” [White] […]

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