Oubys’s latest release is not for those who scare easily, or for those who don’t like to be placed far outside their comfort zone. Created by Wannes Kolf, stage name Oubys, SQM LP Part II is set for release 14th November under Belgium’s Testtoon Records.
There’s actually nothing “pleasurable” about SQM LP Part II. Just like Part I, Part II doesn’t offer a thick and fast release of serotonin. Instead, the thirty three and a half-minute LP forces you into a corner. Opening song Resurrection is relentless in its attack on your senses, and by its end, you’ve lost the battle. Kolf has subjected you masterfully to an oppressive industrial soundscape and he isn’t going to let you go until he’s rinsed your mind free of joy – a process that takes just over thirty minutes…
This isn’t music for people without patience, either. Instead, this is deadly serious food for thought that promises – right up front – to corrupt the happy places in your head and fill them in with a disease sent from the furthest, darkest recesses of space.
At times, it squelches and lurches towards you, bleeping at you with ever-increasing ferocity, screaming at you to take off your headphones and hide in a corner until everything is over. At other times, the music appears almost featureless, a carefully constructed drone of sub bass, reverb and affected synth tones – until it comes at you chaotically with cuts of sharp noise that penetrate through the droning mist like a knife penetrating your auditory system.
Although the opening track of LP, Resurrection, is an aggressive attack on your mind, Restless, the following piece, is Oubys’s way of presenting the listener some amount of respite from sonic bombardment. All the way through to SQM Expanded, the record’s final piece, Kolf plays with your expectations, toying with a dichotomy of aggressive versus suppressive textures that always keeps you guessing. With eerie soundscapes that leave you wondering when the next slice of noise will come from, SQM LP Part II is something like the sonic equivalent of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
That’s what gripped me most about this collection of songs: the unknowing of it all. You fear for the harsh industrial sounds that puncture the deep, dark undercurrent of the music, but you also need them. When they arrive, they stir anxiety in you as you pray for their release. It’s like a form of terrible Stockholm syndrome where Oubys is puppet master and the strings are pure noise.
Finally, as the music faded out into nothingness, Oubys freed me from his suffocating grasp. What sticks with me most about my experience with SQM LP Part II is that although I can’t admit to having fun listening to the music he has created here, I was enraptured by it, needing the next bar, then the next; then the next. If you’re ready to be disturbed and challenged, it comes recommended.
To celebrate the launch of the LP, Oubys has also crafted a live mix that you can listen to below. It gives a flavor of what Oubys does so well; sculpting together a parasite of noise that will burrow into your brain and stay there for days. Listen below.