Back in July, we reviewed Othon’s astounding live show at The Garage, where aesthetic and music were married together in a night of metamorphosing spectacle.
Now, we have the pleasure of reviewing the mercurial and brilliant record that that seminal gig supported: the masterful Pineal.
By Patrick Cash
We have been criticized before for describing Othon’s sound as ‘the future of LGBT music’, and we admit our culpability freely, for he is a musician first and foremost and the fact that he is LGBT bears no bearing on his art. But forgive us if, in a landscape that sometimes seems drowned in manufactured female singers as the beginning and end of ‘gay music’, we get a bit excited when we find an artist who identifies as LGBT and makes such original, unique explorations of what pop can achieve.
Opener ‘Pineal Kiss’ features the renowned castrato-like singer Ernesto Tomasini, jiggling the listener into the Pineal world through intriguing piano riffs and omen-laced vocals. The album incorporates laces of many cultural influences and exotic tinges weaved into its aural tapestry; instrumentals such as ‘City Shaman’ and ‘Japan Suite’ shape their power through play-filled experimentation.
Othon is fearless in what ingredients he will throw into his blend, and his talent vibrates in how he consistently stirs this mix to make it work. Tribal chants and animal howls flow over industrial thundercloud drums on ‘Pasha Dume’; the stunning single ‘Dawn Yet To Come’ – available on Youtube – features Tomasini in full operatic style, singing over background of irresistible electronic beats; and the stand-out ‘Fly’ has an ethereal female sing-song transcend into darkly ensnaring rhythms.
His collaboration with Marc Almond ‘Cobra Coral’ has rightfully got much attention for its energy and anthemic chorus, but even in quieter, piano-lead moments like ballad ‘Your Quantum Future’ the album holds the attention, as the male voice soars on the strings; the lyrics here are some of the best on the record.
It has been some time since we’ve heard a record of so many different colours, but where the shades intersect so harmoniously rather than ending in a clash of paint. Othon (and Tomasini) is one of a number of artists involved in and emerging around left-field London queer electro night ‘Kaos’, a seeming centrifuge of originality, which includes transsexual spoken word artist Roberta Francis. Yes, he Othon a musician in his own right first and foremost, but I like to think it’s quite a proud thing to be able to say he’s also an LGBT artist.
- Othon’s ‘Pineal’ is out now.
- Read a full interview with Othon online at: qxmagazine.kinsta.cloud/blog-events/in-conversation-with-othon/
- The next Kaos is on Saturday 20th September at Electrowekz, 7 Torrens Street, EC1V 1NQ from 11pm-7am.