Oval, 94 Diskont

Mark Richardson

By Mark Richardson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

94 Diskont


More than any single record, Oval's 94diskont popularized "glitch music." As digital recording and storage became commonplace and endless perfect copies of music were possible, a fetish developed in electronic music circles around the sound of computer mistakes, and much of the hubbub can be traced directly to Oval. The centerpiece of this record is the 24-minute "Do While," which combines warm, lunging drones, swells of distortion subjected to disorienting phase effects and the gentle lull of a skipping CD that's become stuck in time. Even over its extreme length, "Do While" is never boring, as subtle variations create a sense of crude unpredictability and the profound surface beauty bumps against tense layers of noise. Of the shorter tracks, highlights include "Line Extension," which, with its heavy use of feedback and meandering organ chords, points to the noisier direction Oval would later pursue, and "Cross Selling," which overlaps a series of fluttering electronic tones to create a unified cluster of nervous, twitching sound. The Oval signature of a skipping CD as rhythmic device had been around since their 1993 debut Wohnton, but with 94diskont the group most fully realized the emotional possibilities of damaged ambient music.