Rekt

dunno on bandcamp

Crotchety Man doesn’t make New Year resolutions. But this year I want to write more about recent releases. So, this week I’ve been sifting through my Release Radar, a playlist automatically created by Spotify every Friday based on my listening history. Only new releases appear on the Radar and although my taste is relatively broad I am expecting Spotify’s selection algorithm to have a tough time finding tunes that are both new and to my taste. This time, though, the solid state brains have exceeded my wildest dreams. Among the 30 songs on the playlist there were two excellent candidates for Track of the Week, rather more than twice as many as I’d expected.

Of course that left me with a dilemma. Should I choose Chill Kingdom by American Dollar or Rekt by Owane? Obviously, I chose the latter but it was a close call. Chill Kingdom, as you may have guessed, is ambient New Age music for the chill-out room; Rekt is refreshing guitar-led prog rock. Choose Chill Kingdom when you’re wrecked, Rekt when the morning sun opens your eyes, invigorates the mind and floods your limbs with energy. Today, Crotchety Man is wide awake and ready for action, so Rekt has to be the right choice.

Having chosen the track the next question was “who is Owane?”. There’s not much about him on the ‘Net. He does have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel on which he describes himself simply as a musician. He’s also on Bandcamp where we see that his first release was an EP called Greatest Hits (which shows an acute sense of irony and humour) and he has one full album entitled Dunno. There’s rather more information about the man and his music in this review of the Greatest Hits EP. Øyvind Owane is a young Norwegian guitarist, keyboard player and composer. He tags his music experimental, fusion, jazz, rock, pop.

If you check the Crotchety Man tags you will find that I have dropped the ‘experimental’ and ‘pop’ from Owane’s list. His compositions are certainly not chart material and  ‘experimental’ suggests rather more weirdness than we hear. I would describe all of Owane’s material as jazz/rock fusion with heavy prog rock influences – lots of fuzzed guitar, plenty of piano and synth, fast runs. But above all there’s a light touch and a joyful feel that reminds me of the effervescent exuberance on Return To Forever‘s album Romantic Warrior. Owane’s guitar sings and its song says “it’s good to be alive”.

Rekt is the first track of the Dunno album, which is available in its entirety on YouTube.

The rest of the album is quite similar. If you like Rekt as much as I do the album is a great way to get the new year off to a flying start.

11 thoughts on “Rekt

  1. I haven’t yet listened to the selection but I wanted to comment on the Spotify thing. On paper, it sounds like a great idea to have Spotify “auto-curate” a list for me based on my tastes. My fear though is that I would wind up with a lot more new stuff than I could possibly listen to. I can hardly get to the stuff I already bought!

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    • I treat the Release Radar like a radio that plays mostly songs I like. And since upgrading to a Premium account recently that means no adverts (which is something I’m more than willing to pay for). I don’t want to be restricted to tracks in any one particular genre and I don’t want to miss good new music just because I haven’t yet heard of the artist. But I don’t want to listen to every new release, either. Most of that is rubbish these days.

      The Release Radar is still quite new to Spotify and to myself but so far it looks like a great way to stay in touch with the latest trends. Oh, and you can always skip a track you don’t like so that 2-hour playlist doesn’t take up that much time. Of course, if you’re struggling to listen to all the stuff you’ve already bought Spotify isn’t going to help you at all.

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      • Hmm. So you have to pay first? And then you get 2 hours/week? Yeah, I Just know I’d never slog through that, tempting as it sounds. Other than bloggers who turn me on to new stuff, my sources these days are Pandora and satellite radio.

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  2. No, you don’t have to pay but the free account has adverts. Pandora isn’t available over here so I can’t say much about that. However, Spotify also has ‘radio stations’ which sounds very much like what Pandora is doing. And when it comes to true radio broadcasts I haven’t yet found one I can live with. Well, I did listen to The Arrow for a while but that was “all rock radio” (no folk, jazz, classical) and they ended up as Internet only.

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    • I didn’t realize Pandora wasn’t available overseas. Seems like a major blunder to me, just handing that potential audience over to competitors. As to radio stations, on satellite, I’m a little peeved that of all the stations I have, there isn’t one I can listen to for more than 10 minutes. On Sirius, Deep Tracks is arguably the best. Otherwise, I have to keep punching buttons on all the other stations to find songs I like. FM radio actually in some ways still does a better job. For example, they’ll play a block of Dylan or AC/DC or ELP or whatever. Sirius never does that. I keep it because I like the Springsteen, jazz and blues channels. But, disappointing compared to what it could be.

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    • Ok, not to get too hung up on Spotify vs. the music you’re presenting, but I kinda got curious about Release Radar. I went onto Spotify and found that over here they call it Discover Weekly. I figured I’d sign up for it or configure or whatever needed to be done. But I had to do nothing. As you reported, when I looked there were 30 songs, almost 3 hours of music! I guess they’ve been populating that and I just didn’t know it.

      Now, I really don’t use Spotify that much so where was it getting those songs? Well, for one thing, read this if you’re curious:

      https://qz.com/571007/the-magic-that-makes-spotifys-discover-weekly-playlists-so-damn-good/

      But what’s weird is that while perhaps much of the list is based on others’ tastes, there were clearly some songs on there that I’d been listening to on YouTube. Paul Simon for one, Pete Townshend for another. So are they somehow aggregating that? I wouldn’t be surprised.

      Anyway, I listened to the first 4 or 5 tunes and liked them all. I won’t say they exactly nailed my taste (I’m not really a big Neil Young fan) but I enjoyed everything. And so now I see what you’re talking about. I won’t listen to all 3o by Monday when they dump a new batch. But to your point, I can listen to none, one, five, or thirty. So, good stuff. Thanks.

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      • Actually, Discover Weekly is a different playlist from Release Radar. As I understand it Discover Weekly can have songs from any period, Release Radar is only stuff that has been recently released. However, I’m no expert.

        To be honest I don’t pay much attention to the auto-generated playlists. For a start, I use Spotify as a tool for finding new stuff that I might like and as a source for music that others have recommended. That probably doesn’t give Spotify an accurate picture of what I really do like. I don’t know how successful it is or could be but it ought to be better than radio stations that have no data at all about my listening habits.

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  3. So, anyway, I always intended to get around to listening to the track but just now catching up on some back posts. Very, very nice. Hits me right where i live when I feel in a jazzy mood. I listened to the first track but will definitely give the album a spin. BTW, when I click on the graphic, where exactly is it playing from? Doesn’t appear to be YouTube but I didn’t see Spotify pop up either.

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