Avant Garde dark ambient Experimental kraut-rock noise review synth

Oplen – O-P-L-E-N Review

Noise in the signal chain.

Bit-crushed electric wires.

The review

Swedish composer Oplen (Henrik Sunbring) is no stranger to obscure kraut music. He is one half of the duo Domus who perform that style of music. ‘O-P-L-E-N’ is a two-sided release containing songs spelling out the title on one side, and a 15-minute long drone piece on side B. It’s not for the faint-hearted as it is all about how bit-crushed sounds can create a dark and dense atmosphere.

photo of Oplen
Oplen

Focusing on the OPLEN tracks, they all run together like a single release. The sound reminds me of electric humming being picked up through wires. These sounds are then distorted, crushed and manipulated to sound like 1bit computer buzzes at times. They warp, throb, whir and growl at you over the five tracks. Kickdrums are militant and regimented like a machine gun. Occasional rotary organ synths crash in for extra density – the whole thing sounds like an evil sci-fi backdrop. It all culminates in by far my favourite piece on the album ‘N’. It’s where everything unites and comes together for a visceral assault on the senses.

It’s not for everyone though. The music largely moves between two chords across the entire 31-minute collection. The b-side drone piece ‘0d13n’) has some great sound design but follows a similar pattern of echoed metallic synths reverberating across space infinitely. I think unless you want to really experience that dark post ambient dread of a sci-fi thriller, you might not find much to grab onto here.

Highly experimental, intensely claustrophobic and very futuristic.

Recommended track: N

Oplen - O-P-L-E-N

7

7.0/10

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