Sometimes, just sometimes, we get an email that takes us completely by surprise. Someone come from out of the blue with a release that makes us wonder why we haven’t been following this artist for years. We’ve just had one of those emails. It came from Exeter based producer Ogre (no relation to Skinny Puppy’s Ogre) and after a little flattery he dropped his latest release, 194, on us. We were pretty blown away.
You may be familiar with some of Robin Ogden’s previous work, specifically his reMix of Robortom and Au Reviour Simone’s Paganini Rocks under the moniker Monster! Monster!. In-case you were wondering, Ogre is nothing like that. What Ogre is, is the soundtrack to the dark middle instalment of a movie trilogy, a soundtrack to the inevitable robot uprising and a pounding electronic accompaniment to your very survival. Ogre’s 194 walks the line between retro, 80s soundtrack influenced, SynthWave or Outrun Electro and distorted Elektro Industrial. The opening salvo, Gongola, exemplifies this and wraps it up in a jackhammer dance beat, before the album finds it’s footing as a collection of atmospheric synthetic moods. 2019 feels like the set up of the album proper with traditional soundtrack elements like string and horn sections, playing against frantic arpeggio and marching drums. Imaginary soundtrack albums such as this need a musical narrative, and 2019 is where this one starts. By the time Cold Protocol, reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack meeting Tengerine Dream and the dark tones of Street Legal have passed you get the idea that this narrative isn’t an easy one. Our heroes, if there are any, are in for a rough time. Of course, with titles like 2019 and V.K., you know that a fair amount of Ogre’s influence for 194 comes from BladeRunner, and Vangelis’ legendary soundtrack, but whilst there are moments during the album when that is very apparent. The similar sounds and tones to Vangelis’ soundtrack never feel copycat, more homage. If anything, much of 194 sounds like the Blade Runner soundtrack’s evil twin. The soundtrack to a BaldeRunner sequel when LA is invaded by a replicant army maybe? Some of the highlights of the albums whopping 18 tracks include the soaring synths of Sniper One, the futuristic Italo of Stairwell and the film, sorry, album’s End Titles, which actually work as the perfect closer to the whole story. Orge had done, with 194, what many try to achieve, but few actually pull off this well. A self contained audio story, one which feels natural when listened to in it’s entirety, and when it’s finished it does feel like there is a satisfying conclusion to this musical tale. So do yourself a favour, pick up 194 and set aside 40 minutes to experience the whole journey.
♫ Ogre – End Credits
♫ Ogre – Sniper One
♫ Ogre – Gondola
♫ Ogre – Stairwell
Ogre’s 194 is available now as download, limited edition cassette and limited edition CD.
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