Friday, 6 February 2015

Bocuma - Orphans of the Sky

Bocuma, 'Orphans of the Sky' Preview

Info: Bocuma is the performance name of Carlow based artist Martin Millar, who has just released his new album, Orphans of the Sky. The album is complimented with a series of impressive artwork pieces by Millar himself, including the album cover, with the inspiration behind both music and art coming from an unusual and interesting source. Aside from childhood nostalgia (which hit me myself while listening to certain tracks, more on that later), Bocuma explains he was; "Influenced by the animation of the same name ‘Orphans of the Sky’ originally aired on RTÉ2 in 1978 as a test screener before the channel was officially launched. Unfortunately not many people got to see (or even remember) it in its original form. To this day nothing has survived from the original 13 minute animation. This album came together with the intentions of trying to recreate the vibe and feel that I can remember hearing from the original score as a kid." 

And what of the music? Categorised as electronic, chill wave, ambient and down tempo, it is all of those things, and the artwork places you in an alternative world, greatly adding to the experience of travelling through Orphans of the Sky's 21 tracks. For me it felt like a weird mix of old Batman comics and the inhospitable terrain of New Texas where Bravestarr and his faithful sidekick Thirty/Thirty used to do battle with Tex Hex, but yes yes, back to the music. Track titles such as 'Down to a Sunless Sea', 'They Walked Like Men' and 'Black Sea of Trees' add to the otherworldly atmosphere of the album, the latter track appears at the beginning and is dark and stalking, slightly similar to Gary Numan's more recent material. 'The Pastel City' follows shortly after and lifts the mood, a merry and optimistic piece of electronica with very cool, tinny drum beats.

'Lonesome Shadows' is a particular favourite, off-sync drum beats combine well with a really nice loop, like opener 'They Walk Like Men', it took my back to my cousins house in the eighties and the analog soundtracks to games such as International Karate+, and having listened to them again I become aware of the sorcery of nostalgia, unlike Bocuma's songs, they were truly awful, but of their time!

Moving on, 'Solitary Experiment' is a gripping track, what you'd get if you crossed early Massive Attack with late Radiohead with the added ingredient of almost therapeutic timing in the beat. Other songs I enjoyed were 'Recalled To Life', like early experimental electronica from the late 70's, along the lines of Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene, 'Chronos' a spacey and atmospheric old school number and finally 'Revolt 86', gritty and almost edging toward hip-hop beats, an 80's New York vibe that's aided well by the voice samples.

Bocuma, 'Kodama'

Bocuma has also developed a huge fanbase on SoundCloud where his two previous albums have led to in excess of 4,000 followers and counting. If you like what you've heard you can head over to label Beatport's site and purchase the album here and to see the full set of Millar's artwork go here

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