The self-titled album Oolluu by Oolluu is a phenomenal record of instrumental synth/dance/prog rock. Fusing synthetic and acoustic elements together flawlessly, the songs are very well written, produced and performed.
“Freefall” opens the album with an out of tune piano that slowly involves into a very in tune dance rock track. Thick synths with an array of patches play through catchy melodies and bubbling arpeggios filtered through steel drum like sounds. Underneath fuzzed out electric guitars and explosive drum flourishes keep the energy high and interact well with the digital sounds. “Afterburner” is built around an arpeggiating synth sequence and lots of feature time for the drums which incorporate a tambourine throughout, subdividing the beat into double time. The drums really drive the song through, particularly at the end where there is an extended break for them to really showcase some great snare work. Subtle vocoder melodies in the background whisper and work well in the texture as their own separate instrument.
“Sub Orbital” incorporates a lot of space (no pun intended) into the arrangement with long sweeping pads and reverbed guitars echoing through. There is a prog rock element to the song with multiple movements moving through tonalities and feels. The development of the song is very clever, each section is led into with ease and interest, constantly building towards a climax of heroic synths, guitars and vocoders merging together into a swirling whirlpool.
“Launch Sequence” uses a hip-hop inspired beat behind buzzing low synths while chiming whistle melodies dance around overhead. The frequency spectrum is very well defined, each sound having its own place to sit and shine within. Some acoustic elements thrown in once in awhile like a shaker make for a nice contrast with some of the stereo sweeping synths. “Hum Of The City” incorporates some sweeping pads imitating wind, sirens and other noise to make a nice soundscape behind the drum and bass groove. Other synths imitate car engines while the main melody flies into Bach like runs. Again there are some great moments for the drum, incorporating several clever patterns, rimclicks, the hi-hat and incredible fills.
“Harsh Reality” features some nimble hi-hat work under outer-space-bowed-glass tones. Referring to the title, the harmonic sequence has some harsh violent shifts, echoing some heavy metal and gothic tones. It sounds like what Billy Corgan may have dreamed for the synthier parts of the Smashing Pumpkins but never got to. “Supernova” as the title suggests is a very epic track with large all encompassing synths and huge drums. Halfway through the song, it changes to a four on the floor dance groove while repeated sequences of synth cycle through melodies before an anthemic return to the original feel comes back. The fugue like elements of the melodies following and disappearing into each other is a very clever resolution to the build.
The only misstep on the album is “Alleron,” which involves some Eastern timbres to the synths and a Steve Reich-ish repeating piano figure. It’s an interesting contrast to the rest of the album with the timbre, though harmonically it mostly moves between two chords the entire time. It’s a long build with not a lot of pay off compared to how good the rest of the songs are on the album.
“Memory Chimes” closes the album with an R&B like riff under ostinado chimes before a heavy funk beat takes off. The song slows down towards the end and makes for a great, easy landing to a fantastic flight.
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