A seemingly unlikely collaboration but one that has borne compelling and captivating results, O+S has completed its self-titled debut, to be released March 24 on Saddle Creek Records. Buoyed by Orenda Fink’s (Azure Ray, Art In Manila) lilting vocals and propelled by the sonic collages of Scalpelist (aka Cedric LeMoyne of Remy Zero), the album is a hauntingly beautiful collection of light/dark, electronic-tinged pop, drawing inspiration equally from the films of David Lynch as well as classic 4AD Records.
This intriguing musical alliance sprouted from an experiment directly linked to Fink’s residency at the esteemed Bemis Center of Contemporary Arts in Omaha. The aural nature of this art project steered Fink on a series of sound-collecting excursions that extended beyond her home in Omaha to Alabama, and ultimately Haiti. “My idea was to go and collect field recordings from all over. Places that inspired me in a kind of atmospheric way,” Fink reveals.
With a recorder filled with sounds and a head full of ideas, Fink called her near two-decade-long friend and fellow Alabama native LeMoyne to assist with her endeavor. In no time at all, LeMoyne found himself taking residence at the Center, diligently constructing the random noises into structures, and eventually, pop songs.
“We’d take samples of sounds of Haitian rituals, street noises or whatever, then cut them into loops,” LeMoyne explains. “We’d arrange them into forms and write songs with them, or Orenda might have started a song and I would take some of these sound materials to create bodies of music around it.” As the experiment began to take shape, both recognized the potential beyond the Bemis residency and decided to graduate from art project to a true musical entity.
The resulting album is a stirring, melodious reverie that thrusts forward with a constant thump of drum loops and jutting bass lines, shifting from acoustic guitar and angelic coos to plodding piano. Fink’s celestial vocals float along like a cloud, ever so gently peeking in and out on cue, while tinkling bells and a mÃ©lange of unidentifiable voices lurk in the sidelines.
With nearly 90% of the album completed in separate states, O+S is about to be reunited, as they prepare to take their sonic pastiche on the road. Tour dates to be announced soon.