In an interview with blogTO at the end of 2012, Castledrum Records founder Rob Ross said that was he is “drawn to those artists who glean emotion and narrative from tools and instruments that are often described as “cold.’” The newest release by the label, the debut EP from London, Ontario-based producer O’Haara, fits cleanly into that. A strong sense of story and feeling come out in the three songs despite, or even because of, their electronic tool box and lack of lyrics.
There is little information about O’Haara online, just a Soundcloud dating back three years stuffed with odds and ends. Though sometimes not having an idea of who the person behind the music is makes it possible to be completely absorbed in it as it speaks entirely for itself.
“Coal” has two parts: a playful and mysterious flowing section that moves slowly through repeated scales, and a driving dance. The entire arc is punctuated by the sounds of humanity. Laughter, tears, and spoken words poke out of the instrumental woodwork to give the impression of a living, breathing community.
It fades into “Freres”, which features small ominous build-ups, the sound of ghostly echoes driving past, and occasional kitchen utensil percussion. A disembodied woman’s voice floats throughout, never quite forming a word or even a defined vowel sound, resulting in a song that could soundtrack any run through a haunted mansion.
The trio ends with “Slow TV”, which builds in volume up to a softly played melody that rests on top of a wavy and hazy batch of sounds. The same groove sustains itself for the entire five minute song, occasionally dipping into quieter moments and weaving its way into brains.
It’s easy enough to sit back and experience the journey that O’Haara is trying to take you on. It might not be a summer vacation, but it’s a beautiful 15 minute break from your everyday life.
Top Track: “Coal”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)