Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Oto Hiax: Two

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Artist: Oto Hiax
Title: Two
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Editions Mego
Mark Clifford and Scott Gordon’s latest offering introduces itself as audio design. It’s a fascinating collection of experiments in layering up acoustic and found sound sources and post-producing and twisting them in a variety of fashions to generate a diverse pack of six compact soundscapes that are mostly attention-grabbing rather than ambient.

Oddly didgeridoo-like noises in opener “Silt” initially suggest a sound that will be more organic and ethnic than what follows, before “Dapple” cuts through with an almost post-dubstep mid-frequency buzzsaw sound that drills into your head, but carefully. “Overcurve” also transplants rave-like noises into bizarre new settings, this time fuelled by relentless loops and a sense of urgency.

The second half settles somewhat. Skittish glitchy sounds play against abruptly stop-starting calm melodic pads in “Scutter”, a meaty ten-minute work that works its way towards the brighter sunrise of “Strain”.

At times this work feels more like a showreel from a duo offering their services for game or soundtrack work, rather than a fully fledged and coherent collection- but that’s my only criticism of what is otherwise an exemplary pack of cutting-edge audio design work. If I were making a dark, sinister and unpredictable horror film, I’d certainly be calling them up.


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