Tuesday 12 May 2020

The Owl - Voyage

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 23 Mar 2020


1. Learning From Those Humble Beginnings
2. One Thousand Hymns
3. The Integral Moments Of Existence
4. The Euphoric Journey
5. To A Modified Reality

It is a great honour to have received this review submission. The individual behind The Owl is someone I've had the pleasure of knowing for a good few years now, although meeting in person has been irregular to say the least for a couple of years (my fault). Voyage is one of the newest releases from a project that is obsessed with experimentation, improvisation and electronics. It is a complete re-work of the project's first release Frá Auðmjúkum Byrjun, which is Icelandic for 'From Humble Beginnings', which coincidentally was The Owl's first song (according to Bandcamp). The Owl recently remixed 'Ease Me' by Oathbreaker. You should definitely check it out too!

I go through waves of enthusiasm for my hobby, just like anybody else does. Sometimes I don’t have the energy for writing/listening and other times, it’s all I want to do. I’m currently at the latter end of the spectrum and with so much music to inspire me, it should continue. The Owl is intriguing. A musical endeavour that’s been born out of so many human emotions, it’s hard to put it into perspective. Voyage is just one example of that and through musical experimentation and noise, those emotions reach out to you. ‘Learning From Those Humble Beginnings’ is a quiet opener with bass guitar being joined by loops, droning samples and atmosphere that can’t be replicated through instrumentation.

Given that The Owl shares it’s creator with Leeds noise miscreants Sloth Hammer, it’s unsurprising to hear a heavy use of electronics throughout this release. ‘One Thousand Hymns’ takes on that kind of crazy form early on, with rumbling tones, repeating laser-like sounds and bass-effects coupled with lowly guitar work. I’m not an expert at describing this form of music but that’s my best effort. At times there is an earthy doom/black metal feel to Voyage, but also a hauntingly unnerving one, especially on ‘The Integral Moments Of Existence’, which is minimalist yet spine tingling. 

‘The Euphoric Journey’ is a journey alright. It does actually feel quite euphoric though, as it twinkles and winds it’s way through percussion and key-led ambience to a bizarre ending that may or may not be a metaphor for the current breakdown of society. The album’s final song ‘To A Modified Reality’ finishes it just as ‘Learning From Those Humble Beginnings’ started proceedings. Quietly and with a gentle wrap-around feeling that you’ve escaped real life for a brief moment and are being taken somewhere entirely more peaceful. 

This album is a lot calmer than I was expecting. That’s a good thing though as during this bizarre time in our lives, the less anxiety and stress that effects us the better. If you want a rest from extremity and blasting, then please listen to The Owl. It’s enriching mentally and that can only be positive. 

The full album is available to stream and download (name-your-price). As part of the stream, you can listen to it all in unspoiled glory as it was intended through the 'complete' version of Voyage that is included as one 27+ minute piece:-

Also, here's a link to that Oathbreaker remix I mentioned earlier:-

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