Review: Octa Octa ‘For Lovers’ (Technicolour Records)

Having already established herself in house music, Octa Octa’s new EP, For Lovers, is one of those rare releases that captures pure feeling. It stems from her personal experiences, but that doesn’t hinder it from being inaccessible. Full of physical and emotional longing, wishes, distance, memory and lust, this EP is an elegy and an ode to anyone you’ve had feelings for.

‘I Need You’, a light breakbeat tune starts the EP; it lets you float in the space between: wandering, thinking and feeling. A track that speaks of longing and gratitude, the vocals, ethereally repeating “I need you”, cover the sonic landscape to highlight the gravity of the message in this release. Playful synths mimic the breakbeat. Refreshingly, the song doesn’t become soppy with melancholy. It was composed specifically for those people who have supported her through her transition. She sings the vocals on this song, and at one point says, “thank you for being there.”

The second track, ‘Bodies Meld Together’ moves into the physical. It casts aside the feathery breakbeat for a deep house rhythm. The bass resounds with you but it’s almost too casual start-stopping breaks up the song a little too much, yet it retains the elements that made ‘I Need You’ work; it’s got a layered texture of swirling vocals, slightly audible tribal drums that make the song feel spiritual. ‘Loops For Healing’ is the last tune in the EP and it continues with the theme of the body, more weighty deep house. Subtlety is introduced to keep them from feeling repetitive, instead, the result is two courageous tracks. The bassline still resounds, the tribal beats still in the background, but now piano chords ring out over the tune to create a different atmosphere. The song was a recovered gem from the past, and as the name suggests, was composed to be a tool for healing. A fitting round up to an EP that prevails in the face of personal upheaval.

Though there isn’t a genre change, the songs are still breakbeat and deep house, there’s an aural revamp. There’s none of the pumped-up dance music in Cause I Love You, or the hints of melancholy in Between Two Selves, it builds on the house bangers of Where Are We Going, but the sounds seem fruiter and richer. You can trace, from the latter two albums just mentioned to this one, the surer sounds coming into her music and, hopefully, herself. For Lovers is a record that looks to the future with a smile.

Words: Taymour Afhdal

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