With his self-titled debut EP in 2010 and follower Our Loving Is Hurting Us Chris Dexter aka oOoOO was one of the main figures of a taking root scene centered around New York based label Tri Angle. With slowed down, heart rate melting BPMs, hazy soundscapes traversed by eerie, heavily reverbed atmospheres, lo-fi synth sounds and distorted R&B vocals oOoOO and acts such as BALAM ACAB, HOLY OTHER, CLAMS CASINO and SALEM were mainly responsible for the widespread circulation of genre titles like witch house, drag, grave wave and so forth.
Now the San Francisco based producer released his long-awaited debut LP Without Your Love via Kompakt and the newly founded Nihjgt Feelings, a record label operating from the Turkish island of Bozcaada, run by Dexter and befriended local gravediggers releasing ‘heartbroken night music’.
On their first release oOoOO progresses the themes he evolved on previous EPs and refines his spectral sound especially by experimenting with time and space dynamics, with different textures and effects of overlaying and fading. As regards subject matter and temporal progress Without Your Love is the musical depiction of an emotional descent, the enforcement of a suffocating loss and a wistful work of mourning, proceeding with elements of an extended understanding of somnambulistic dream pop.
In the first half of the album there are still some brightening moments primarily due to the sweetish vocals from singer M.L. for instance on the album’s first single Stay Here or the melodic title cut. But as time goes on we increasingly sink into more blurred regions and a darker state where the yearning vocals recede, get swallowed or shrouded. Beginning with the reversed samples and gloomy noises of Crossed Wires across the morose heavyweight of Mouchette – cited by oOoOO as an ‘inverted dream’ of Stay Here and named after French film director Robert Bresson’s unsettling cult film – until the melancholic tragedy of album closer Across A Sea, we’re sucked into a blackened soulscape that got nothing to gift but, at best, the redemptive experience of a cathartic self-abandonment.
You can stream the entire album via Pitchfork