Masterfully crafted, Popp is a heartfelt exhibition of refined techniques. This album is eccentric, yet invitingly warm and familiar. Definitely my favorite album of 2016.
Favorite track: sa.
OK, so what's next for Oval after multi-award-winning Ambient-, Electronica-, Post-Rock / Guitar- and Brazilian- styles? A...club album!?!
“Popp” originally started as a concept album. Not in the way one might think, though. It was neither meant as a POP record nor as “the Markus Popp signature album”.
At first, “Popp” was started to reverse-engineer the classic, 1990s Oval glitch sound using the hi-tech tools of today. Two afternoons later, that had been accomplished. And now what? How about trying something Oval had never tackled, like...an Oval take on straight-up sequencing, oldschool club tropes and...beatmaking!?
And it worked. The "Popp" project quickly turned into a deep dive. The result is a relentless, euphoric love letter to a long-lost musical utopia: Kaleidoscopic and soulful, optimistic and grandiose. Like fantasy club tracks from an alternate universe. Alt rave utopia, if you will.
Listening to "Popp" is a joyous information overload from beginning to end. No matter if you choose to trace the countless exhilarating, meandering melodies (“RE”, “ID“), or if you prefer to allow yourself to get swept along by the glitch-infused house tsunami of “AI” and “LO”.
More highlights: The newly introduced, intricate “fantasy vocals” are another new through line in Oval’s music: Weaving a blissful, sensual, “post-R&B”-narrative beyond words (“KU”, “LO“, “VE”). Ghosts of vintage Oval glitch stylings (“FU”, “MY”, “MO”) are met with swooning strings, dreamy bells, rave stabs, angular bass lines and polyrhythmic beats. The album's atmosphere can even border on the solemn (“SA”), cinematic (“CA”) or even hymnic (“VE”) before dissolving into unstoppable, multi-dimensional loopscapes.
"Popp" is a relentless, exuberant re-imagination of "club" sound aesthetics (from classic to fantastical), confidently cruising down its own, alternate timeline at 120 BPM. So 90s, so now.
“Popp” is available on Digisleeve CD and white vinyl LP. The LP includes a large, full-color fold-out poster (60 cm x 60 cm) of the cover motif - an original, exclusive artwork by conceptual artist Antonia Hirsch. The digital special edition of “Popp” on Bandcamp comes with two original, Bandcamp-exclusive bonus tracks.
Trailblazing glitch masterpieces (1990s), delicate, hyperreal, futuristic post-rock vignettes (after 2010), now even club
bangers with a twist (2016) - Oval continues to be a celebration of innovation, skill & sensibility. With an undeniable instinct for the pleasantly irritating, the drastic & the dreamy, M. Popp keeps on pushing the envelope. No one out there plays the computer quite like him....more