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Olien - Sounded Paratronic

(Release date: 30 March 2007)


Taken from Mushroom, written by Ilse

Oliver Bach aka Olien is German and already before his debut album he had made himself heard on Trishula's »Mechanophobia« compilation. I'm very pleased that there's finally something more experimental to be heard from our country. With much tension he has managed to build up and exciting journey through out the album which ends in a smooth let go back into reality. Dark tension with a subtly rolling drive, never overloaded and decorated with enough elements to hold one's attention, but also hypnotic enough to fascinate me. In truth the CD doesn't sound all that exciting at a first listen as he uses his elements sparingly. However when one takes the time and allows one self to go on the journey it's very impressive. My urgent recommendation is to listen to it loud or on headphones, it's a ride!

Taken from Revolve Magazine summer 2007, written by Full Lotus

Amanit starts with a taste of things to come, a head pounding track with loads of growly bass and squiggly bits perfect for those nocturnal hours. Darkmatter continues the hyperdimensional tuneage. A scratchy DMT-style opening and relentless twisted brain bashing rhythms from Cosmide, before Wavpool launches into more dripping sonic soundscapes. Phew.
Calmar, Surfincaos and then the Cybersphere crank the tempo up even further with its oozing fright night music that you can swing a cat to. There's also quirky body and mind workouts on here from Transmoveport and the album closes with Andsoon, decidedly slower, but no obligatory chil out tune. Instead we are treated to over 10 minutes of a haunting aural tapestry of delights.
Well, what to say? Not a melody in sight, hard as a fook dirty growling night-time stompiness reminding me of a cross between Kindzadza and Pondscum.
A cracking debut album and I look forward to hearing more.

Taken from Isratrance, written by Acidhive

Olien eh? Had a chill release on Ajana Records (sister label of Trishula) before and release on a compilation of Trishula which I really liked. So I decided to get this one, and I must say this album hasn't disappointed me. Let's go through it track by track.

Track 1: We start off with some atmospherics, very dark oriented. A kick and bass come in, the song builds a little and takes off with muffled voice sampling in the background almost constantly and picking up quite a pace. Nice track as an opening.

Track 2: Aptly titled darkmatter, this one starts with some dark atmospherics again. A bass and kick soon follow after the little intro and we're off once again, much in the same vein as track 1, although even darker. Dark and brooding atmosphere in this one, as Olien seems to like a lot. (And me as well, hehehe) Great track, lots of building up and quite busy, I like the haunting melody in it at around 3:20 and onwards.

Track 3: Starts off with some sampling and dark atmosphere once again. A drilling bass and kick immediately come in after the brief rest and the song proceeds with haste again, dark all the way. Random synths and samples seem to fly all over the place. Great stuff for parties, this one has quite a drive. Like the way the dark atmosphere takes hold in this one.

Track 4: Starts off with a sample and a sound that's reminiscent of a racecar followed by a voice. A dry kick and beat come in and this one already sounds more busy than tracks before. A break follows and the darker atmospheres are back again. Proceeding from there it promises to be just as good as the tracks before. And I'm not mistaken. Good track.

Track 5: Starts off with some atmospherics again. A dark bassline comes in, together with a hard kickdrum. This one builds up again, playing with different hi-hats and swirling acidic sounds. The bassline changes suddenly at 1:25 and again at 1:44 where it returns to the darker pattern again. This song does that effect at certain points and this one has quite some breaks. Interesting track.

Track 6: Dark atmospherics again, building up, some muffled samples... you know the drill. A weaker kick than in the track before, but this one gets crazier near the end and still retains that dark atmosphere. Gets real wobbly near the end. Ok track.

Track 7: Starts off dark with some sampling as if you're underwater. Nice stuff. Some synths stereo-pan their way into your ear and a kickdrum and bassline come in. Hi-hats spinning, and we're off once more. Nice work on the breakbeat kinda percussion that's laid out under this. Lots of bassline changes, like in track 5. Good stuff. And yep, dark as always.

Track 8: Atmospherics. Changing dark basslines throughout the track, random synth garbles, sampling... sound familiar? It should. Getting tired of this? Hmmm nope, not at the moment. Nice track.

Track 9: Dark, strange sampling in this one, sometimes it sounds like there's a dentist drill in the background or something. Anyway, not one of my fave tracks here, it's less dark but more chaotic. Lots of sampling, lots of effects, but ultimately less 'soul' than the other tracks. Don't like that very nervous skip-bassline either.

Track 10: Is a little slower, pretty dark again, somewhat less chaotic than track 9. Nice enough, pretty long, takes time to build and is pretty engaging. Not a bad way to finish off.

Conclusion time then: Phew. A dark ride (and chaotic at times). I survived the trip, and hey, it's pretty good stuff. Olien is more about the atmospheres than the actual melodies or psychedelia it seems and he does a good job in most tracks. I liked this album and for a debut album it's pretty good. 8/10 from me here and if you like the samples, do yourself a favor and go get this. It's another fine release from Trishula.

Taken from Trancecritic, written by Sykonee

IN BRIEF: Quite twisted.

For most folks, there are two kinds of music they look to get: tunes with a catchy hook; tunes with an infectious beat. They simply have little time to be bothered with technicalities like musicianship, creativity, and so on. Sure, every so often a song with all these traits will sneak into the public ear, but it’s quite the rarity when it does. So it isn’t surprising when music with other ideas in mind is dismissed as nonsense by Average Jane and Joe. After all, how good can it be if it doesn’t make you hum or tap your foot? Actually, at times it can be quite good indeed.

While only the basics of rhythm and melody continue to appeal to the masses, there’s a wealth of music designed for more specific tastes. Psychedelic music often has the listener’s imagination in mind, using soundscapes to trigger quirky images in the brains of the audience. When producers began making use of synths and sequencers in this vein, even the sky was no longer the limit. Psy trance was born, and has enjoyed its status as fringe music in spite of the ridicule it gets as just a bunch of wibbly noise.

Still, ‘a bunch of wibbly noise’ isn’t the fairest description. There are plenty of catchy hooks and nice melodies scattered about this scene. However, there are also many producers out there who like to dig deep into psychedelia, leaving all but the fearless behind. This is Olien’s aim.

Oliver Bach describes his music as ‘layered psy’, and I do find this apt. On the surface, playing his album Sounded Paratronic in the background while I attended to other tasks, very little of his work caught my ear. The odd sonic trick here, a quirky sound there, but I couldn’t describe much afterwards.

But when I sat down with the good ol’ Sennheisers... Good God, but does this music ever reveal itself to you! Or rather, I discovered there’s far more of interest going on than first impressions will show.

Make no mistake: there still isn’t much in the way of a catchy hook. And the rhythms, although definitely using different patterns between tracks, are seriously lacking in the funk. What Olien does remarkably well though, is create incredibly warped soundscapes that suck you in and tickles your imagination with twisted imagery. It’s like some sort of synthesis of organic, cybernetic, and alien textures.

Probably the closest comparison that springs to mind would be Oliver Lieb’s The Black Album under his L.S.G. alias. In fact, it would seem Bach gives a small tribute to his fellow German in the opening track Amanit, as a few samples of various Lieb tracks can be heard in it. But whereas The Black Album focused mostly on the darkest of tech-trance ideas, Sounded Paratronic does hold back from descending quite that far into madness.

The most intriguing thing I found with this album is just how it keeps your attention. I’ll admit my thoughts can wander when sitting back to music, often due to predictability. But with production geared for twisted imagery rather than typical song structure, Olien often keep you guessing what’s going to come next. Granted, a great number of psy does this and I’ve often found myself subconsciously tuning it out anyways because what is offered just isn’t interesting. Not in Olien’s case though. Every stuttered synth, every rubbery bassline, every floating pad, every disembodied vocal sample keeps me hooked; such creative stuff to listen to it is. Hardly ever did I hear any of psy trance’s more annoying clichés crop up, and if they ever did, they were given a clever spin.

And probably the most important factor in making Sounded Paratronic an engaging listen is how it’s never overcooked. Psy often has a problem in trying to be too clever, too psychedelic. Sure, there are a couple times where it sounds like Olien is overdoing it (probably most notably in Cybersphere) but for the most part Bach keeps things focused on the imagery his music creates rather than indulging for indulgent’s sake.

Ultimately though, if you absolutely need to have your music contain typical rhythms and melody, Sounded Paratronic won’t interest you in the slightest. You won’t be singing Granularis in the shower and Calmar won’t have you breakdancing anytime soon (although I’m sure a few cyber-hippies won’t mind flailing to these, heh), but then that’s beside the point.

Sounded Paratronic has a very specific audience in mind, and Olien has produced a well-crafted album for said audience. If you’re after a psy trance album that’ll play delightful things with your head, give this a go.



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