Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reviews: Owen Ni - Studies and Various Artists - AWAKEN: Incoming Frequencies III


    Owen Ni is one of those very creative guys who's constantly working, either on his own projects, collaborating with other artists, or promoting through his podcast (Run On Radio) and record label (Run On Recordings). Music is his passion and he loves to share that passion.

    His own music tends to be of the techno variety and much of the folks he works would fall under the broad electronic umbrella of that genre, but Ni is open to any music or sounds that touch his brain. Speaking of his own music, one need look no further than his "Studies" EP, which received a vinyl release last year, to hear that the man is a master of minimalism and texture. The beats are memorable and the textures are eloquent. One track, "Running By The Beat" gets a very cool remix from Whim-ee. Gotta love it when a remix is actually slightly SHORTER than the original. The project is at once kinda modern and kinda retro. Timeless? If you're not dancing or hanging out or doing something nefarious to Mr. Ni's music, you really need to drive late at night with the windows down and let him be your GPS.

    Probably should've mentioned this already, but I do know Owen Ni. Not much of a revelation if
you've read my interview with him on this site! Anyway, I bring this up because one of my solo tracks appears on AWAKEN: Incoming Frequencies III, the compilation I'm about to tell ya about. For the sake of some vague impartiality, I will forgo reviewing my own song. However, I will say that, as of this writing, it is exclusive to this album. Skip past my noise, and you'll get tunes that range from early-90's-esque dance grooves to ethereal sound-scaping to rambling electronic organ to New Ordery stuff to just damn solid house. Some songs are more challenging than others: Echo's "Vertical Tala" is something of a slow-burn with 14+ minute runtime that starts with very repetitive notes that eventually build into full atmospheric rewards. Chumps will skip, while the enlightened will ride it out into aural oblivion. The comp plays as a diverse but cohesive full-length album. Seriously, not a bad track on here. My faves (and I keep changing my mind): the aforementioned Echo's "Vertical Tala", Argiflex's beautifully abrasive "Lost Cancels", Owen Ni's own haunty "Dreams Of Fish", and "Animals" by uh.... Adam Harmless.

Run On Recordings is celebrating their 4th year with this release. Here's to a thousand more!! 
-Harmless