Outputmessage – Oneiros


The proliferation of electronic music through bedroom auteurs the world over has left the genre in a bind: Innovate or die. With such a terrible amount of computer-generated music being released – generating and mixing tracks on a computer takes even less industry than plugging in a guitar – artists must carve themselves a niche to stand out. Autechre got crazy, fast. Prefuse 73 took glitch-hop to the next level. Boards of Canada managed to create a wholly unique mood. Some artists – Manitoba, Fennesz – abandoned traditional glitch and IDM in favor of a more musical, organic approach. All of this leaves little room in listener’s collections for straightforward, traditional-sounding IDM, which is exactly what Outputmessage puts forth on Oneiros. In many ways, this approach is refreshing, especially to those used to the expansions and innovations of the aforementioned artists.

Outputmessage incorporates all of the aspects that made IDM a compelling genre before the flood: gurgling breakbeats, terrifying bass lines, raindrop textures, and ethereal bridges to more an enjoyable same. As electronic music is notoriously difficult to describe, I’ll do my best, but let it be known from the outset that Oneiros is a charmingly consistent record, never truly breaking its easy flow or lovely pulse.

If Bernard Farley (the man behind the moniker) has a strong suit, it’s his excellent use of synth textures throughout the record. “Switch,” which houses one of the album’s more frenetic beats, is exemplary of his excellent tone work – globs of sound float over the rhythms, never really congealing into a melody but never wandering off into the realm of total ambience. The title track bleeds a different kind of noise. The rhythms recede into a murky, gray background as synths bubble and burst at the top of the mix. “Tossing + Turning” is another success, this one getting by on an industrial base, with clean, clear stabs of melody.

Are there problems? Sure. Always are. Farley is occasionally too straightforward, and he sometimes curses tracks (“REM State”) with the burden of far too many textures. Indeed, his next step may be stripping down the sounds on Oneiros and rebuilding them into a more Spartan mix. For now, however, Oneiros is an extremely solid debut outing, one that doesn’t pander to unnecessary obscurity or difficulty.