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Reviewed by William Chea

Ounce: Oz

Reviewed by William Chea

Ounce: Oz

Ounce is a five-piece psychedelic / krautrock band based in Auckland. The make-up of the band is quite unique in that it features two drummers, Antony Pike and Kieran Ruffles, playing in tandem.

The band’s live show can be quite the spectacle to experience with two kits on stage and the drumming supported by hand percussionist Fi Browne – whose contribution is noticeably distinguishable from the drums, making full use of the tambourine’s timbral components. Yves Yang controls the rhythmic qualities with his groove fuelled bass playing providing one of the highlights of Ounce’s music. Lastly, the band is fronted by vocalist and guitarist Callum Rooney, whose playing controls the atmospheric traits. Rooney is also responsible for the production of the release as he is credited with recording, mixing, and even producing the cover artwork for ‘OZ’. The record was mastered by Patrick Haight who has done an amazing job keeping each of tracks consistent in tone and quality.

Ounce’s ‘OZ’ immediately sets the listener on a journey as one would expect from a psychedelic record. Opening track Crocodile sets up the formula of having that over-sized rhythm section carry the energy of each song; a repeating bass line that sets a dark yet groovy and galloping feel, supported an almost mono-rhythmic drum beat that accentuates the punch of the bass. The use of the rhythm section in this way allows Rooney to let loose with a free form improvisational style that bounces between skanking triad chords, noisy shredding, and the heavy use of guitar effects to create trippy aural textures. The combination of these instrumental elements is used heavily throughout and is effective in presenting a dynamic landscape that emulates the euphoric state that psychedelic music is known for.

The limited use of vocals is appropriate in its use as a textural element, and plays to Rooney’s strength as a vocalist, singing basic lines that are almost monotone. When the vocals do come in on a track the use of reverb is pleasingly subtle, and they are not so loud as to distract from the spacey instrumental feel. The band doesn’t need to rely solely on effects to attain that trippy feeling of their music, this release proving they can compose pieces of music with substance and body.

The Axis Mundi is a brooding, almost droning track that breaks the bass-led formula of the previous tracks and closes the record with ominous pounding percussion and oscillating guitar noise and synths. ‘OZ’ is mostly the same in terms of energy and tone throughout, this tonal repetition playing heavily towards the aim of emulating a psychedelic trip. Axis Mundi serves as a much welcomed break in tension from the previous half hour of groovy psych rock. The album can be repetitive, but at the same time in using repeated motifs it makes for a perfect half hour of music for those looking to enter an altered state of consciousness.

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