The Mind Gap is the seventh release by Ozone Player a.k.a. Finnish synthesist Otso Pakarinen with guest musicians. I am unsure whether I have heard any of his previous work, but I do recall reading earlier reviews. I therefore expected electronic music or space rock, but the music on this new disc, which was released in November 2018 is much more varied than that and explores everything between classical and electronica, world music or progressive rock. And more. According to the label these combinations of styles should encourage “the listener's imagination to cross the bridges over its own 'mind gaps'”. Well, that explains the title, but we will see about the rest...
The opening chords of the album (and thus of the first track Two Waters) are not the best, because they almost sound like a (bad) piano lesson. Luckily, they shape up after a few bars and quickly flow into a nice melody, mood and varied instrumentation and the initial dissonance is gone. As said, I expected electronic music or space rock. So far, however, I am rather reminded of melodic RIO (e.g. Univers Zero in an upbeat mood) also thanks to the dominant presence of clarinet.
Let's look at the other tracks... Jasmine Snow Temple starts with (female) vocals that remind me of Yes. Quite uplifting and one of the tracks that I could imagine returning to at some point in time. Miniature Mountains, on the other hand is one that I will never listen again as it builds on circus music. I wonder what RIO bands find so great with that particular direction of music. In general, I find it hopeless. Think this is one of the better cases, but still...
Much, much better is Wendy's Garage that flirts with Oriental sounds and edgy rhythms. Lost In Math builds on wandering violin and some good tension coupled to ethnic percussion. The album continues with ethnic sounds in Teatime At Time, which sounds as if it was recorded with a gamelan orchestra (gamelan is not exactly my favourite percussion instrument, but used well it does add to certain sounds).
Then follows another (short) silly tune, You Can't Eat The Cake If You Don't Have It. Great title. The music makes me think of a not too serious secret agent movie (think Johnny English). The March Of May brings us back to the circus with a marching rhythm and to my ears quite annoying synths and wind instruments.
Little Things Matter brings at first finally proper electronic music. I would say soundtrack music meets Berlin School-like, which then flows into sax/clarinet-led music. One of the pieces I like best on this disc is I Am Not A Camera. This track combines rhythm edgy electronic music with breathy flute. The album's is (almost) closed by A Great Day For Clutter, which reminds a bit of light hearted electronic music in Jean-Michel Jarre vein.
If you like a varied and somewhat experimental platter, check this out. As a whole, it was too fragmentary for my taste.
***- Carsten Busch (edited by Dave Smith)
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