Review: oOoOO & Islamiq Grrrls defy all senses on ‘Faminine Mystique’

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oOoOO & Islamiq Grrrls Faminine Mystique Nihjgt Feelings

Release date: May 18th 2018

Review by Jenna Dreisenstock

A bleeding glimmer in each finger. The shining of the cut-throat glass shards as hands press for a breakthrough; the chamber of a mime. Defined in black and white, painted onto the artistic body in mute and nude expression. A raw vunrebility in which to be placed, a chamber in artistic expression in which the zebra-stripes of the mute mime speak only when spoken of. To define oneself without limitation, to break away from each tiny soul, speaking to us in our own voice or the illusion of choice. To embrace a spectrum of self-expression…to not define oneself at all.

Destruction is a form of creation. In breaking away from perceived notions of artistic expression, to define oneself as not defining oneself at all; to recognize the ambiguous, arbitrary meaning of labels to which we are often forced to ascribe and in turn to say no; the exploration of a vivid limbo in which the recognition of the spectrum of expression lies without definition  – allows endless possibilities. Finding within one another a mutual bond in wanting to break through the narrowly defined: “bedroom producers” oOoOO (aka Chris Dexter Greenspan) and Islamiq Grrrls (known only to give out her name as Asia) initially started as a collaboration in turn for one another’s talents, which evolved steadily into a full joint effort on Faminine Mystique as the pair explored and traversed the possibilities of their artistic expression, breaking away from societal defined norms of genre and musical expectation. True to its nature, the title of Faminine Mystique is a reference to the literary work by feminist author Betty Friedan – “The Feminine Mystique”, the text speaks of an ingrained systemic pigeonholing, claustrophobic boxes in which women are required to fit and are therefore defined by societal expectations in which it is difficult to break free. Playing on the theme of “experimentation vs accessibility”, oOoOO and Islamiq Grrrls have allowed their musical expression to shatter the boxes in which others have built – allowing for an experimental journey through sound and self-expression, without dictation and need for mainstream accessibility.

A spectral loner cries glass-fragment glitter, as a heartbreak minor in distorted guitar greets ominous; Asia’s sultry vocals loom in auto-tune yearning, as we are introduced to the first track of the album ‘All of Me‘. Swaying in lonely harmonies, spine-chill of gloomy, leering guitars cradle Asia’s vocoder longing; an R&B reminiscent love song in pop-struck isolation. Underworld hip-hop breaks through with a steady beat and sweet, sad percussion; a trip-hop heartbreak which could likened to artists such as Arms & Sleepers – a textural dance in afterlife-reflection, coloured in sculpted spectres moving lovingly torn through a night sky. A steady, calm rumble of a submerged Tom reflects in a tribal pattern; a spiritual closed eye meditation as a fire flickers ; juxtaposed with a modern ocissilation of artificial effects, leads in searing, loving keys; melodies in reflection of a love lost, angelic avant-pop melancholy cries in twilight ache and plea. Wistful spheres of ambience hold Asia’s auto-tune sorrow in caress, introspection in return to the steady uplift of hip-hop percussive as she sleeps in blooming tears of a doleful dance.

Slick with tender R&B vocals, Greenspan’s vocoder serenade sings lyrical; within the ebb and flow of a soulful traverse, a bossa-nova affection and warmth greets us to “Feeling Feelings” A genre infusion of modern R&B modulation, auto-tune saccharine – trip-hop textural fusion, and a playful yet introspective exploration of bossa-nova heartbreak: Feeling Feelings” seeps meditative tradition, beautifully lamenting guitar melodies likened to the greats: a nod to Antonio Carlos Jobim or Carlos Santana – intimate with the sweeping possibility of poetic liberation, strings of devotion in each plucked reverberation, sunburnt in ardor and passion. The sweetness in angelic synthesizer blooms haze in a woeful ambience, Greenspan’s rumination in tone – cut. The disrupt of distortion. A struck chord in lightning jump – tick tick tick, assertive cries slide down guitar necks in gentle wails; modulation in dissonant pitch steady in the artificial, amongst the raw sting solos of reverberation until. A bossa nova sweep in jazz-fusion, dotted with Greenspan’s erratic R&B exclamations – ending the self-assured voice of a solo and harmonic companion.

Greeted in textural submerged downtempo, “Jobim Goes Late Night” enters in cyber-tribal, rising and falling ghost-synths stun into the harshness of high-pitched major chords as an eclectic mix of lo-fi beats and curious synths, playful in their reminiscence of early video-game music and dance – urge the listener into an unexpected break in genre: the crackle of a fireplace, and wine with undertones of mahogany – soulful keys lounge in warmth, an elegant low-exposure in velveteen jazz melodies amongst the textural electronic world built by the producers simmer in the passionate heart of strong liquor fusion with keys and modern avant-electronic.

Luna haze in melancholia moonbeam, the cold chill of spine-tickling keys glimmer in hues of blues and greys, sculpted within the lungs of Asia’s harrowing dreamscape of vocal tone; desolation in love, shimmering vulnerability in loneliness. In “True Blue“, phantasm fingers break the dust in a wound of abandonment, twilight glittering in gothic lament. Glowing nightscape of a lonely dream in vocals, comforting guitar melodies break-through, a warmth in accompaniment; friendly harmonies, an embrace – yet a raw, loving bond in melancholia and heartfelt reflection. In clarity and break-away, the lone dreamer vocal tone distances in heavy fuzz, an engulf of shoegaze-esque atmosphere hazy in lost souls. The steady electronic percussive flutters, moths beneath the light of a vocal, strong guitar solo; speaking assertively in tradition and rock n roll nostalgia of the 70s, blended in turn with elements of technique immediately recognizable in the epic storytelling of 80’s metal. Sweeping waves among the shore of a lone midnight, sleeps a return to shoegaze, a cold ocean mist enveloping foot-by-foot in a numbing gloaming; the spectral echo of Asia’s vocal harmonies sing waves over angelic melancholia; building in a climactic textural playground as the companionship of distorted guitar beckons us goodbye.

Ardour in adrenaline; an uplifting yet heavy stickiness in a blood-pumping beat – urges forward in “I Want To Be Alone“, animated with the fuzz of metallic synths and the eccentric curiosity of nervous guitar melody peeking through at times, Asia’s vocals remain in a dream-like mirage, a daze of vocoder lo-fi amongst the delicacy of poison adrenaline: flatlined. An engulf of darkness tenderly cries witch-house, a dissonance in the avant-garde harmonics looped in static. Ghostly minor keys tear-apart into dream-pop and a slight overwhelm of shoegaze fuzz, a break – a scream; progressive aggression, a gentle,violent break apart and liberated rejection.

In tiny boxes we find ourselves shoved, a claustrophobia of identity politics and labels which are branded across our chests; hazardous vividness, boxes to break apart and defy; to tear through, to rip and shred – to destroy and create something entirely new – a resistance to the expectations of others. An experimentation of the loss of oneself in a seemingly black and white artistic spectrum, a rabbit hole in which we’ve fallen. The creations, the artworks built up by the walls we’ve broken down; a repetition of the self through outside perception and inward reflection. In disregarding perceived style and expectation, each box and label simmers in embers; sparks of ideas for the old and new, destruction, creation and liberation  oOoOO & Islamiqq Grrrls have built Faminine Mystique without barriers, without identities in need of validation and a traverse in the looming experimental within their companionship.

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