O - Numéro 0

O - Numéro 0

13 songs
39:57 minutes
***** ***
Antenna

Bandmail

At first I hated this album. Most of you will probably never transcend this first impression. But then I decided to spend some more time with O, to gradually immerse into their sonic universe which is unlike everything you expect in music. O, a minimalist instrumental duo from France, may use instruments, but they definitely don't play regular music.

Numéro 0 is the third release from O, showing that they are serious about what they do. The album is divided into 13 tracks, but the band emphasizes that it needs to be listened as one long composition, and that makes sense. Numéro 0 is a journey through two really troubled minds. Acoustic guitars and electronic noise build the center stage of their sound, but when you close your eyes, it will become like a soundtrack through a really weird place. It is no coincidence that the word "desert" turns up a couple of time on the track names (along with the concepts of cacti, death and Spain), because Numéro 0 sounds like the backdrop of a hellish hot day in a dry country far away from vegetation and water, with the Sun beating down on your neck. It is a kind of suffering, inducing hallucinations, a healing pain if you are ready to open yourself up to their music.

There are moments of blissful beauty, hidden behind a layer of abstract noise, and then there are blaring blasts of dissonance. The goal of the album may be for the audience to be lost in the music, letting them find their way out of this surreal labyrinth.

Not everybody seems to feel comfortable with this experimental setup (and truly I can't blame anyone for not having the patience), but in its execution, Numéro 0 is not unlike Fantômas' Delirium Cordia, except that O are less pretentious, less arty and therefore more artistic and sincere in their execution. It is impossible to compare to anything else really, although it comes close to American avant-garde folk (No Neck Blues Band, Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice, Six Organs of Admittance) crossed with outsider music. Is it a kind of idiot savant artistry, or is it well calculated noise? I don't know, and I don't care. As the last ten minutes are mostly blank, we are left with half an hour long sonic trip that you will never forget if you make it past the first few minutes. Very original!

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