Considering they first started working together way back in 2011, Oto Hiax have managed to stay pretty tight-lipped over the last four years. The project is partnership between Black Acre regular, Scott Gordon aka Loops Haunt and founder of organic ambient/techno outfit Seefeel, Mark Clifford. Their debut EP, titled simply ‘EP 1’, treads the middle-ground between the two parties remarkably effectively. Featuring some of the skippy, broken UK rhythms you might expect to hear in Loops Haunt material alongside the shoegaze ambience that Seefeel became so well versed at, the EP explores some fairly space-leaning material, without ever straying too far into awe-struck-Brian-Cox style indulgences.
This is perhaps due to the fact Oto Hiax’s organic melodic elements are put in heavy contrast with data-mosh soundscapes. Take ‘Roaming Folds’ for example - as faded guitar flourishes cut through a veil of reverb, granular engine sounds whiz past in the backdrop. ‘Lark’, perhaps the EP’s pinnacle is further case in point, glistening melodies sharply offset by a skism of code-string breaks - digitalised kicks tumbling over each other maniacally.
Similarly fractured timbres are employed across ‘Migrator’, darkweb glitches and smog-caked bass hits grating against Oto Hiax’s clicking, kitchen-ware snares and skin-crawling atmospheres. The track’s close sees these contrasting elements give way to an expanse of melancholic soundscapes, before lumbering closer, ‘Sleeplocks’. The track crawls like vapour from blackened chasms, whistling atmospherics hinting at life in the depths.
As a debut written four years ago, ‘EP 1’ sounds remarkably current and makes an interesting development for both artists. Needless to say given the time that has passed since Clifford & Gordon put this EP together their sensibilities have likely developed significantly, however even in this first release they have found an intriguing niche amongst their fellow Brighton-noise contemporaries.