STEVE GILMORE’S MUSIC REVIEWS: WAXKO – OCEAN

You can listen to this artist on Soundclick

A musician in need of a vocalist is how I came out of the last session with Waxko, although that wasn’t always the impression I had. When I first reviewed his Heroes Of The Daily Grind (December 2005), it impressed the beejeebers out of me and showed that this artist has a sure touch when it comes to writing decent melodies. This initial impression was only reinforced by Deeper (February 2006) which I felt could do with a little trimming but nonetheless recommended it on the strength of the melodies and structure. As I’ve already explained, I felt that The Scream Of The Night (Versions 1 & 2) (April 2006) was seriously in need of a vocalist and that lack definitely coloured my impression even though – as always – the music and structure is worth a listen.

I commented before about the sounds used to produce his work, and that – to be honest – was the first thing that struck me as I listened to the track. I’m not a big fan of factory sounds anyway, so I guess that counts as a personal bias. Again, I can’t see that many people will notice, they’ll be too busy gawping at the things whizzing in and out of their skulls. Ocean, considering the subject matter, isn’t the languid encounter it should be. Matter of fact, it’s all a bit frenetic if you know what I mean and – again if I were honest – a bit disappointing for me. I think the reason for this is that I have such a high regard for Heroes Of The Daily Grind, that lesser tracks are a letdown. Much more to the point there are some (I think) basic errors that need correcting badly.

The first is, obviously, sound.

As well as a flatness of sound, there is some real flakiness with the hi hats suggesting a rendering problem. Now maybe that is down to my copy but I suspect not. The piano sound, an essential part of this track, is nothing like as bright and full bodied as it should be and consequently tends to get buried in the mix. I question, also, some of the timings. For sure there is a problem with the pizzicato strings and the high tom hits, both of which sound out of place. As I say, surprising, because it isn’t something I would normally have expected from this artist given his track record so far. It’s likely then, that this is some kind of demo and – should any reworking be done, I hope the artist has a listen to what I have to say. Underneath it all is the same thing that attracted me to this artist in the first place, a musicality that – in this instance – is woefully buried under a clumsy mix.

Written by Steve Gilmore of Camden Guitars

For the full backlog of music reviews visit his website RebelRiffs

Steve Gilmore

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