Okada is the project of Gregory Pappas, who makes ambient post-rock. But here's the thing: Pappas is based in Mobile, Alabama. Ultra-modern music of a type that normally comes from fancy European cities, but from a guy based in 'Bama? I've never been to Mobile. Maybe it's a little more worldly than the other parts of the state that i have visited. Who knows. Still, i found this fact to be very odd.
You see, Mr. Pappas makes some beautiful post-rock. Synths wash by, beats click and pop, and a female voice soars over it all. Okada is the half-way point between Portishead and Port-Royal, and that is a pretty awesome combination.
There are five songs on the record, and the shortest of them is just over eight minutes long. So these tunes all take a long time to develop. Patience is a must when listening to Okada.
Birds screech at each other in the start of Withdrawn, kicking the album off with a beach feel. Pappas brings in some kind of deep drone, a few in layers sliding against each other. A voice whispers, and the tune grows. Eventually a female voice comes in, singing over a groovy beat and dense layers of synths. It's a pretty song.
Pappas gets his Autechre on for Empathy, twelve minutes of popping, clipped beats, piano, and hushed female voice. Reconciliation loses the voice, and the beats are little less stuttery. The piano here is lovely, and there are nice layers of synths under it all.
The last two tracks are kind of dubsteppy, Pappas bringing the electro elements of his music into this decade.
Disheartened has lots of echo. The song is filled with reverbing strings, piano, synths, and vocal samples. It's really lovely, and as it grows the beats become throbbing in that dubstep way, with a high hat tinkling along a cut vocal sample loop of that female voice. This tune is bright and shiny and has a fun shuffling beat.
The final track is the ominously named Void. The female voice here has that sped-up, high-pitched dubstep sound, here looped over a piano and a loud bass hit.
The whole effect of this record is lovely. Pappas has created something really special here, and i am impressed. That it is a Fluttery release is not surprising, as Fluttery has put out some really great stuff lately.
There is one point of annoyance i have with the press material and internet pages for this release. The female voice is a pretty important part of the record. She sings on over half of the music, adding a lovely layer to everything, increasing the depth of the music. And yet, i cannot find her name listed anywhere. Why? I get that Pappas is the composer here, but some page should say who he hired to sing these parts. I just don't understand why she remains un-named. I find that very odd.
It's a great release though.
Huh. Good post-rock from 'Bama. Who'd a thunk it?