ØR – Norwegian for “dizzy, confusing” – is the third album from Italian avant-rock trio OSLO TAPES, and the album keeps what the word promises: a dizzying ride through a feverish dreamscape of imaginary Norwegian highlands painted in cubistic shapes. Hypnotic basslines, repetitive drum patterns, new wave synths and psychedelic guitar textures covering the full width of the stereo room, all seamlessly woven into a gloomy Kraut – tapestry which sounds refreshingly… modern, while paying tribute to the aged genre.
Marco Campitelli, born and raised in Lanciano on the Southern Adriatic coast of Italy, founded OSLO TAPES in the early 2010s after a trip to the Norwegian Capital left him deeply impressed. Under the influence of this infatuation, he composed and produced OSLO TAPES’ first record “OT (un cuore in pasto a pesci con teste di cane)” within a week in 2013.
Supervised and supported by friend Amaury Cambuzat (faUSt / Ulan Bator), Campitelli’s first attempt to capture the mystical vibe of Norway was released on DeAmbula Records (Ulan Bator, The Marigold, 7C). In 2015 he was joined by Mauro Spada and Federico Sergente (Zippo) and together they recorded OSLO TAPES’ sophomore album “Tango Kalashnikov”, also released on DeAmbula Records.
“ØR” is a much more collaborative effort for OSLO TAPES than the first two records. Next to Campitelli, the album was co-produced by Amaury Cambuzat (Ulan Bator) and James Aparicio (house engineer for Mute Records and mixing and mastering engineer for Depeche Mode, Mogwai, Nick Cave). During production, Campitelli became friends with Emil Nikolaisen of Serena Maneesh w h o guided him “through the Norwegian imagination”. As a result, the record’s title is also courtesy of Nikolaisen.
During this journey spanning over eight songs, OSLO TAPES, completed by Mauro Spada (bass) and Davide Di Virgilio (drums and percussions) construct a dense and ever so dark atmosphere that is captivating, brooding and imaginative. After a spiraling takeoff with “Space is the place”, we find ourselves floating weightlessly above the nocturnal Norwegian highlands through “Zenith” and “Kosmik Feels”, an airy circulation of jazzy drums, pulsating bass lines and shimmering guitar clouds. We saddle up, gallop across the sky on “Bodø Dakar” and drift back into the night on “Cosmonaut”. The trifecta of “Norwegian Dream”, “Exotic Dreams” and “Obession Is The Mother of All” conclude this agitated fever dream journey.
There is a sense of solitude in OSLO TAPES’ compositions which makes it easy to imagine them as interstellar jam sessions between cosmonauts, each in their own isolated space capsule. Every spin of “ØR” brings new discoveries: sometimes it is a noise that we did not notice before, sometimes a slight change in the drum groove, sometimes just a piece of the lyrics, meandering through our mental space.
“ØR” is a vertiginious journey to be remembered – and repeated.
“The focus of Oslo Tapes is to harmonize the noise” says Marco Campitelli.