Album Appreciation: Pö om pö by OCH

“Hypnagogia remains one of the most mysterious and haunting daily states of mind. Moments of revelation are wont to traditionally hit us particularly in the hinterland between dream and waking, and whilst hallucinations are a key element of the much-vaunted psychedelic experience, the first such taste we’ll tend to have of these in our lifetime, be they image-based, auditory or the afterglow of repetitive activity in the daytime, are in thie realm, It’s this particular headspace that’s very much the world of ‘Pö om pö’”. []

Maybe it is because I was listening to this album a lot yesterday, or maybe because I wasn’t feeling so well, but I definitely spent much of last night in a state of hypnagogia… I wasn’t fully asleep but I also wasn’t taking multiple Covid tests like the lucid dream that I was having suggested that I was.

It was an uneasy night after which I don’t feel all that rested… it was the feeling of being stuck in a loop that I found particularly frustrating… along way from the journey that I felt myself to be on with the previous OCH album, which I wrote about here. There’s no driving beats that take you forward here… it is, instead, and album which seems to keep you in stasis…

As opener ’Bolid’ kicks off you are not really prepared for what is to come… it all seems fairly normal, nevertheless, as it progresses we begin to see different layers being applied, though, which almost overwhelms you by the end… it’s thick and it’s intense, and I’m not sure that there is ultimately a way through it…

With the scene set, and the complexity ramped up, ’Vadstena’ is a similarly disorientating experience… I listened to this album while I was out walking for a while yesterday… but I had to move onto something else… I think that it is because it is really not that sort of record… For me it is definitely one to be experienced where you can listen intently… possibly alone, but if you are doing something else verbal communication is probably out…

‘Syzyrgy’ is more stripped down for the most part by comparison… the organ drones early on contribute towards a more ethereal feeling, something which is gradually developed into a more exotic sound which is redolent of the souk… you can imagine drifting though without actually effecting anything that is going on there… as if slightly removed or time-shifted out of the place… and that’s kind of what this album does… it disorientates you in a number of different ways.

After that ’Silverstjärnan’ initially has a bit more coherence to it… you feel as if you might be going somewhere with it… there a discernible melodic repeat which takes you to another level… easily the most uplifting track on the album so far… which brings you down gently again towards the end… only to have one last burst of uplifting energy…

’Isfält’ immediately engenders two feelings in me as I try to discern what I think about it… one is a sort of folky bucolic sense/ while the other is a nod towards space rock… it’s an interesting conundrum and one I thought could suggest hypnagogia as I try to resolve the two very different ideas unsuccessfully… if that was the intention then I’m really impressed by it… either way it was a strange and challenging experience.

‘Bråviken’ is no less clear as different sounds and beats seem to fight for the attention… we are deep into this set now… and also deep into the dense forest of sound that seeks to disorientate us and give us that sense of being lost. For me this is not a disturbing sensation in itself… I like to not know where I am… and enjoy the disconnection knowing that a way back can eventually be found.

I’m not sure that this will happen with ’Impetus’ however, heavy percussion beating out something that somehow feels like a clearing in the woodland of uncertainty… there is a real sense of place to this in contrast to nearly everything else here… there is something definite to cling on to leading into ’Ochra’ which begins with something relatively gentle and soothing but very soon goes batshit crazy as it picks up the pace… the music is now both searing and seer-like… a burning longing scorching everything and removing the interminability of what has gone on before… a final dramatic statement which brings this totally wild/ weird/ wonderful album to an end… by which time I am not entirely sure what I have listened to… but I know that at some point I will be going in again.

‘Pö om pö’ is out now on Rocket Recordings.



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