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João Ricardo / ocp — Drones and Beats

An excellent new full-length, Still

The 16 tracks on Still, the new album from Portugal-based OCP, aka João Ricardo, explore variations on a specific territory, a droning nocturnal space, weathered and anxious. The title cut uses quick cuts to scraping sounds and an occasional beat-like thud to initiate the listener into a dank, threatening scenario. About a third of the way through “Still,” the beat semi-resolves to something more routinized, even lounge-like, but it’s never steady, just slightly more civilized.

“Diligent Effort” has a fairly certain beat from the start, and it gains heft as it goes, eventually haloed by tones that suggest a vapor trail; simple chords provide a more normalized musical listening experience, but really just emphasize how remote the album is — sonically, emotionally, texturally.

Arguably the highlight, “Always a Priority, Never an Option” has a denser atmosphere than many of the other tracks, but it resides nonetheless at an unhealthy distance, a premonition on the horizon. Beats enter more like Geiger ticks than rhythm, and those beats scramble to get some sort of metric in order, never quite congealing. Meanwhile the atmosphere has grown closer, louder, and more enveloping.

Here’s the full album:

Album originally posted at opcabpol.bandcamp.com. More from OCP / João Ricardo, who’s based in Porto, Portugal, at joaoricardo.org, twitter.com/joaoricardo_org, and soundcloud.com/ocp.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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