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Album Review

From his music alone, Oval's Markus Popp always seemed the most professorial of the experimental techno crowd in the '90s, but he left the academy, so to speak, with barely a backward glance, early in the 2000s. In that light, his return in 2010 with an EP (Oh) and the LP O are most welcome. His methods have changed remarkably, although the results haven't. Where he used custom gear in the past, he's traded it in for off-the-shelf processing software. Technology must have caught up with him, though, since he's easily able to conjure the sound of Oval — warm drones and string plucks that are sliced and diced with the cold rigor that Buñuel and Dalí applied to an Andalusian eyeball. The big difference on this two-disc set, however, is the occasional, recognizable drum pattern, mostly snare strikes or cymbal crashes, that give the rest of the music a wider dynamic range. The first disc is a 20-track monolith of bucolic digitalia, much like Popp's earlier landmarks 94Diskont and Systemische. The second disc, however, includes 50 tracks of what Popp refers to as ringtones — "concise, highly detailed pieces that are a conscious nod to the culture of instant gratification."

Customer Reviews






Formed: 1993

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally a group that, through attrition, developed into a solo outlet for founding member Markus Popp, Oval were perhaps known more for how they made their music than for the music itself. Their intriguing update of some elements of avant-garde composition, in combination with techniques of digital sound design, resulted in some of the most original, if somewhat challenging, electronic music of the 1990s. After Oval helped establish glitch as a distinct style — as exemplified by Mille Plateaux's...
Full Bio