Music is a wonderful thing, and is well suited to this issue’s theme of ‘explore’. You can keep exploring music and you’ll always find something new, every time. I first heard Oisima’s debut LP when it dropped in May, and after hearing his jazz-infused melodies and ambient-laced, hip-hop beats being performed live during his album tour, I decided to revisit the album.
Oisima—Anth Wendt—is a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Adelaide, and his debut record Nicaragua Nights had me feeling the beat right from track one. My ears were greeted by a textured influx of sitars over a simple drum pattern. It was like arriving in a foreign land with a feeling of tranquillity. The beat gives a quick introduction of what to expect for the next 45 minutes, before the album kicks straight into motion with the track ‘Grover’s Lament’. The honey-soaked saxophones guide the house beat as multiple sax solos fly in and out.
Over the whole album Oisima proves he can consistently craft colourful beats. The track ‘Sidewalk Cerve ces’ is reminiscent of a heavy, bass-house melody with chopped vocal samples on the track. Other tracks showcase Oisima’s unique style, without relying on samples as a crutch. ‘Catcus Canyon’ is a track more focused on synthesizer and saxophone melodies, and the track after, ‘MmmHmm’, shifts the vibe into coffee-table jazz with a simple repeated piano riff.
Some of the better tracks off the record come from Oisima’s collaborations with singers. The Perth-based singer Mei Seraswati—who also makes similar beats to Oisima—is featured on ‘Sun of Truth’ where her soulful vocals are accompanied by Oisima’s shuffling instruments. The tracks ‘Makes Me Feel Alright’ and ‘Everything About Her’ feature the vocals of Anabel Weston, and while she doesn’t provide an engaging vocal performance, the atmospheric and soulful qualities of her voice do work hand-in-hand with Oisima’s more spacious sounds.
Oisima experiments with sound over the whole record and for the most part it works. The mood is interrupted by the track ‘Missin You Now’—I never cared for the rap performances by Danny Watts and Sam AI. Only a few chord progressions are used in multiple songs, but that’s just nitpicking. The sheer amount of instruments in any one song never reaches overload, and are evenly balanced and controlled. Nicaragua Nights steps away from the “Australian sound” of electronic music (i.e. Flume, Bonobo) and is an album worthy of a listen if you’re feeling adventurous.
Words and Artwork by Aden Beaver