Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Self-released (2007)
Rating: B+

An homage of sorts to the many faces of EM, KevOz's (Kevin R. Osborn) Digital is one flat out fun album, a recording with little if any pretension, which the opening "Whoo!" emphasizes with its chunky funky rhythm track and fake audience cheers. Unlike the artist's previous more mainstream new age music type recordings (e.g. Return to Lakefront) or the stylized SF-themed Into Orbit, this CD is pure electronica, laced throughout with nostalgic touches, a dash of whimsy, and more influential nods to music from the '70s through the '90s than can be recounted here. However, this isn't a mere throwback imitation. There are contemporary wrinkles scattered among the 15 tracks and top notch production quality flows through the entire album. The artist traverses an assortment of EM subgenre territories: laid back chill-out ("Unheard Wishes") bass-heavy funk ("Debonair," which also contains some interesting jazz riffs and a dash of spacemusic too), pulsing break-beat dance tunes ("Bliss"), moody echoed piano set against cinematic synth textures and chilled beats that ends on a Vangelis-like fanfare ("You're Not Here"), and even a track that sounds like it's from the soundtrack to the film Breakin' ("Dueling Dreams"). Another influence that I heard more than once was the film music of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth on tracks such as "Revolver" and the latter part of "Hypnosis" (echoes of Big Trouble in Little China), as well as occasional flirtations with Berlin school ("Spooky" and various other spots on the CD, basically wherever sequencers and certain synth sounds are heard). While this review may make Digital sound somewhat disjointed, it's actually anything but (no doubt because Osborn intended - and achieved - a unifying motif of sorts, one that's easily discerned despite the myriad influences). With this CD, KevOz reveals a whole other side of his musical personality, an aspect that I, for one, heartily endorse and look forward (hopefully) to hearing much more from in the future.

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