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.