Oureboros’s is the collaborative project of Hamilton’s Rich Oddie and Toronto’s Aron West aka Tnon, two of the founding members of noise/industrial outfit Orphx. Their first release as Oureboros, Dreaming in Earth, Dissolving in Light, contains a similar penchant for industrial soundscapes that fans of Orphx will appreciate, especially the early more ambient period before Tnon departed in 1995 to co-found Tropism.
The album begins by forcing the listener to descend from our overworld into the heart of a mountain. It slowly drones deeply as you experience your spirit dropping lower and lower. The piece as a whole seems to be an experiment in abstract dissonance, again reminiscent of early (and later) Orphx. Even when the sonic environment brightens up through dissolving, it inevitably evolves into a mutated doppelgänger of itself. While the instrumentation does include live instruments, it is–as far as I can tell–mostly limited to pure frequencies, noise, and synthesized sounds or effects. Overall, the songs are not minimalistic, yet they retain the droning and ambient structure in most (arguably all) places. The description provided on their website is a perhaps an apt way of explaining it: “… A unique fusion of deep ambient electronics, apocalyptic industrial, and ritualistic six-string walls of sound that evoke elements of black metal and shoegaze.”
An interesting aspect of this album is how layered the melodies are, though the word melody might not be the best way to describe these shimmering shards of sound. Meandering through the different songs displays a diverse array of atmospheres and situations and your experience of this album will depend on which tracks your attention chooses to focus on. Chances are that “Dissolving in Light” will be the song to catch most peoples’ ears.
While the album can be simultaneously harsh, sad, beautiful, and caustic, it tends toward heavy darkness while avoiding the ditch of depression; it is spacy and psychedelic without the science fiction.
The production work on Dreaming in Earth, Dissolving in Light is top-notch. At no place did I ever feel as if I was anywhere but in the world that this album creates. The sonic cues are all just perfect and the range of dynamics is pretty spectacular, whether on the headphones or the speakers. It’s a very polished offering without sounding processed or over produced. Overall the album is very relaxing, which is not to say it’s peaceful. Perfect background music for lying alone in a dark room or doing light work. But don’t let it recede too far into the background or you’ll miss out on a lot of what gives the album its charm.
Review by Roth’s Child