OMUMO Records is an independent record label based in Washingto, DC and was founded by the multi-instrumentalist and producer, Brad Atefi, back in 2015. The label includes a diverse roster of artists from different genres including folk, rock, hip hop, and electronic.
If there is anything that distinguishes OMUMO Records’ roster of artists from those of other labels is exquisite eccentricity. Their deck roll of musicians do not place you into the typical lamestream bandwagon where most songs seem to follow the repetitive, sonic hit equation to craft a generic sound. Instead, there is a level of deliberation, lyrical complexity, and one-of-a-kind vibe that each of their singers showcase. OMUMO’s latest sampler gives us a drive-thru taste of each of their artists.
The opener of the sample, “Maze” by Vin Mariani, is a dreamy indie folk piece that effortlessly sets you into a frictionless soundscape. The tip-toeing drum taps and multi-vocal croons chanting “I will be fine” makes it a Xanax-infused first course. The minimalistic melodic approach and dreamy trance permeate into their other track, “Palmute,” where you can immediately recognize them for their mind-soothing vibe. However, Vin Mariani teases you in “Last Shot” where they surprise you with a more hip hop twist, giving you a sneak peek into their vast songsmithing skills.
Ocean Black is nothing like the Atlanta’s hip-hop scene – which has been plateauing to a listless, midtempo laziness. In “Namaste,” Ocean Black hooks you immediately with the tambourines and the elongated “yeeaahh” choruses before fully addressing the socio-political issues. While the melody is minimalistic, it’s got a rhythmic march that has a pinch of dreampop. “Born to Breath” is another rap piece in soft rock disguise whereas “Memories Ago” blends electronic beats with laid-back soul. Ocean Black’s sound is that of an avant-garde rapper who is not afraid of transplanting his hip hop backbone into new sonic territories.
In an age where electro-aerated music populate most of the scene, Persian Idol gives us a sweet relief with his minimalistic strings-and-drums approach. The third track of the sample, “Curse of Wisdom,” is altogether silent and chaotic – the lack of instrumentation sets you into a muted space, yet the rushing influx of strings semi-awakens your fight-or-flight response. “Wrong and Out of Tune” and “Sexy Charango” are calmer, folk pop track that breezes in slow motion.
If there was a raw, instrumental version of M83, it would be Oxindol. Starting out with the careful drums that quickly get joined by string glides, “The Beginning of a New Era” sets you into a meditative trance. There is no exhilaration, but there is a mind-massaging element to it that immediately hooks your eardrums. All of Oxindol’s works in the sampler lack vocals and they seem to be composed strictly to let you chillax in the moment. Both “Urban Dream” and “Born to” provide brief interludes of time-outs.
Similarly, Mamas Boiz’ “Let It Be My Fate to Die Alone” gives you a short melodic break that lack vocals. But it is only in this track where Mamas Boiz are lyricless – in “Gbd” they finally stand at the forefront of their sonic territory, showcasing their ethereal echoes. “Put It All in My Mind” starts off as tropical pop track that smoothly transitions into rap.
“I need something to hold me now” chants Spring Hill Carryout in “Serious Soul.” The guitar-centric, acoustic piece follows Spring Hill Carryout exploring the barriers of finding true love. “Meet Up” is another acoustic, rap track that follows the daily routine of a 9-5 office life, where your office crush is the highlight of your monotone pace. It’s got an undertone of melancholia where the combination of uptempo drums and downtempo strings resonate the loneliness we all feel amidst the breakneck pace of life. In “Last Call,” Spring Hill Carryout abandons the acoustic set for finger-snapping, rhythmic bliss that nudges you passively to the dancefloor.
“El silencio es lo único que importa” (“Silence is the only thing that matters”) croons Ocean Man in “Cielo” (“Sky”). There is a sense of playfulness and sun-kissed, summery bliss in Ocean Man’s soundsphere. In “Miami II,” he repeatedly sings “I’ll be all alright,” with the same guitar-powered, coastal vibe that you feel during the lazy days at the beach where you left all the life shenanigans behind in the city to soak the ocean air. “The Fall and Rise of Ocean Man” is a rollercoaster that starts from soft melancholic acoustic to string-gleaming exhilarations.
OMUMO Sampler offers a quick, intriguing insight into their artists showcasing their songsculpting style as well as the experimental approaches that each of them are undertaking. For music aficionados seeking unorthodox artists, OMUMO provides a comprehensive list that leaves you wanting to explore more.
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