Communication with nature is not a new theme for OOIOO. Visually, album art designs and band photos bare hidden repetitions of “o-o-i-o-o” and videos have visually featured woods of the forest above any member of the band. Much of the band’s past music has incorporated tribal rhythms and wild sounds, but an even more prominent focus on nature is clearly stated on the new album, TAIGA right from the title, which means “big river” in Japanese and “forest” in Russian.
OOIOO’s earliest music was minimal and digital, just as their binary name may suggest. But as the band’s lineup evolved over four previous albums, so did its sound. New-wave poppy grooves gave way to chaotic plateaus and psychedelic freakouts on albums like KILA KILA KILA and Gold & Green. OOIOO’s current manifestation has derived a rhythm-based sound scapes, spacious, spiritual and elevatory, intended as communication with the Earth and motivated by nature.
TAIGA shows OOIOO displaying a wide array of instrumental sounds and textures. Focused on accentuating the rhythm, the band adds layers as seemlessly as they take them away. Rythms patters ebb and flow naturally like the tide all the while a fragile melody interweaves them waves. To a similar effect, Yoshimi and her band-mates’ vocals range from tribal and meditative chants to bird calls and free-folk screaming. TAIGA sounds like the deep forest from the bank of a big river, the sounds of animals and trees, life and death. This is a call to nature as only Yoshimi could muster.
The recording features longtime OOIOO guitarist Kayan, whose graceful long sinewy frame betrays her forceful and angular playing. She is joined by Aya on bass, who also played on KILA KILA KILA. Both Kayan and Aya also sing the chorus and chant with Yoshimi. TAIGA is the debut of AI on drums. Special guests include Yo2ro Tatekawa on drums, Thiam Misato on percussion and Tonchi on steel pans.
TAIGA was produced by Yoshimi P-we, founder, leader, and songwriter of OOIOO. She began her music career in 1986 playing drums in UFO or Die with Eye and joining him in revolutionary noise-pop experimentalists Boredoms. Formed as a fictitious band for a 1996 magazine article, OOIOO quickly gained attention when they opened for Sonic Youth in 1997 with their powerful and positively energetic force on stage. There are very few bands who can step on stage and instantly demand your attention, quickly capture your heart and inevitably make you move as OOIOO does.
TAIGA demands your attention with the call to music that is “UMA”. By “ATS” they have won your heart with their delicate vocals dancing around pointed guitar. The driving rhythms of “UMO”, “IOA” get the toes tapping and the hands dancing. TAIGA is about the now and the future, where stories exude the depth of nature and begin and end as life does in the natural world in the taiga.