The first track on Amarcord sounds like witch-house chancers Salem nudge-winking the build-up of Robert Miles’ Children, and there’s a guitar solo straight out of Tangerine Dream’s 1980s playbook. Virtual-E might sound like a brain-clash on paper but it does click, like the rest of this new album from Italian producer OOBE, on Kudos Records.
If your artist name nods to an out-of-body experience you better have the music to back yourself up, and producer Yari Malaspina has been releasing far-out club tunes for the last 3-4 years – from glitchy, scuffed beats on 2013’s SFTCR to the gleaming hi-def smithereens on 2014’s Digitalsea, with a few nods to Actress and James Ferraro.
After Virtual-E, the track Unknown Journey is a melancholy synth-wave slow jam with the same instant repeat appeal of Timecop1983, and this Drive soundtrack buzz carries over into the clean lines on Virtual K.
Vocals are all over Amarcord’s seven tracks, but they’re mostly just used as samples — pitched down or muffled, and Crush Mind hangs on a phasing loop of the line, “and I’m so sick of my song” (I think). The most straightforward ‘song’ is 1989 Summer, but it’s a frosty counterpoint to the 1989 rave-in-a-field cliche — propelled on an echoey motorik beat and the kind of melancholy vocals you’d expect to be floating round Burial’s head as he sips on a McDonald’s Coke at 4am.
Amarcord takes its name from Fellini’s 1973 film, and the word loosely means “I remember” — a point that helps the penny to drop, among the 80s synths, prog guitar solos and snatches of buried house motifs. The tone may be nostalgic, but OOBE is slotting the jigsaw pieces together in plenty of new ways.