Aqua Nebula Ocillator

Label: Tee Pee Records/The orchard/Gordeon
Three similar bands: Acid Mothers Temple/The Heads/Hawkwind
Rating: HHHHHHH (2/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Riot
2. Turn On
3. Final Solution
4. Kill Yourself
5. Apocalyptoads
6. Black Sun
7. Lucifer
8. Dead Soul
9. Saturne
10. Incandescence

David sphaèr'os (Guitar, Vocals, Sithar and Organ, Master Of Ceremony)
Adrian Bang (Drums, Orchestra Conductor)
Alexis Raphaeloff (Bass, EarthQuaker)

Under The Moon Of... (2008)
Aqua Nebula Ocillator (2008)
Caves Recordings 1998-2008 ‎ (demo compilation, 2010)
Excavation (EP, 2010)



Released 2012-06-05
Reviewed 2013-03-12

tee pee

It's taken a while for me to get my head around Aqua Nebula Ocillitor and what it is that this somewhat psychedelic thing actually offers. Judging from the album name, I don't think it's a big surprise to hear that this is the third full lenght release from this French band. They've made some sort of rumour with the previous releases (adding an EP and demo compilation to the full length releases) to be somewhat odd, psychedelic and creative - three words we'll probably use while talking about this release as well.

Some say that listening to Aqua Nebula Ocillitor is like being thrown in to a psychedelic painting by artists like Dali or Bosch and I can actually see what they mean by saying so. At the same time I think it's a bit over ambitious to mention such genius and compare it with Aqua Nebula Ocillitor. Why? Well, these artists has made some really deep and impression paintings that you still today can analyze without really knowing their true meanings. Aqua Nebula Ocillitor may have taking me half a year to analyze but it's not because it's so deep and complex like a surrealistic, psychedelic painting but because it's just so frustrating to hear.

It's not that I don't get the point with the album, I understand that they want to be a bit floating, ungraspable and lack structure. They want to be a bit weird, crazy and strange because it's not suppose to be the standard album that everyone does with verses, choruses and all that stuff. It's suppose to stand out, and be a bit incomprehensible - maybe even feel a bit uncomfortable to hear. It's an artwork - in musical shape. But I don't feel it's very well made.

I have a Dali painting on my wall, not a real one of course since I'm no millionaire or have a family that is. But I love that painting, it is - like the sound of Aqua Nebula Ocillitor - quite scaled down and simple. Dalis paintings are neither complex nor colourful in their style. They don't have stuff, shapes and colours all over the painting but often pretty simple with only a few detailed things that catches your eyes. Bosch on the other hand did quite the opposite, his painting are colourful and full of things, shapes and other stuff all over. To combine the two is only creating chaos and that's what you get from Aqua Nebula Ocillitor. They have the simple sound of Dali in the production but the overfilled sound of Bosch in how they play. It's a little bit like combining McDonalds with a luxury restaurant - it will end in a catastrophe. A messy, ugly disaster. And if you ask me, had Dali or Bosch made their paintings like Aqua Nebula Ocillitors done their album they would really have cheaped out on the colours and canvas.

So, production wise it's Dali minimalism while they've taken Bosch way of filling up every empty space with things in how they've created the music. The Spartan production with hollow sound and cheap sound quality does not help all these sounds to come out the best possible way so it all just ends up in a big mess. They open the album with a song that both have sounds reminding me of sithar and some dark, obscure voice saying "kill yourself" over and over along with male choirs going "oooooooooooooohhhh". It's somewhat telling for the album but still very much not. The somewhat chaotic sound is there in more or less every song in some sort of way and the tempo is also very much alike in every song. The cheap production is also very telling for the band - not many bands have this low-budget production outside black metal - so despite lacking structure it's very easy to recognise the album regardless of where on this ten tracks and 40 minutes you are.

I think Aqua Nebula Ocillitorhave succeeded with what they intended quite well (I'm guessing, I haven't asked them) because it is somewhat psychedelic and incomprehensible. But it's not very good. I especially dislike the dogmatic production on the sound that like a Lars von Trier film just feels shaky and grainy. Not at all inviting for you as a listener. Because of this and that floating, unstructured way of doing the album, the music tends to get pretty dull to listen to. The vocals are poor, when you hear them at all, and the album as a whole is just not worth it. You'll never find a really natural time or place to play it - it's just ridicules.

Sure, I won't dismiss it completely. Perhaps I'm just not clever enough to get this kind of musical art? Well, it might be so, I'm not saying I'm great at everything… but I do get art. And I do get music, so what are the chance I'm a complete idiot when it comes to combining the two? Well, I don't know how much is just me but from where I'm sitting it's just very difficult to see how there could be that many thinking the opposite of me. but perhaps we are the blind ones, perhaps Aqua Nebula Ocillitor are misunderstood geniuses that will be acclaimed for what they are first long after they're dead? No, I think it's more probable that they just aren't that great.




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