I was in close confrontation with the devils. I could see them face to face. I see everything that is deadly about creation…invented, arranged to assassinate those that speak the truth.
Blackest Ever Black presents Red X, the debut release from Young Echo member Ossia. 10 unyielding minutes of noise-strafed, rootical techno backed with two more abstract, uncanny studies in reverb and delay. One of the Bristol underground’s most vital behind-the-scenes operators, Ossia runs the RWD>>FWD mail-order and oversees the Peng Sound, No Corner and Hotline Recordings labels, among others. Though you may have clocked his appearances as DJ Oa$is on FuckPunk, the label he runs with Vessel, Red X is his first proper solo offering.
The title track was made during the winter of 2014/15, inspired by Peter Tosh’s personal taped diaries: mysterious reel-to-reel recordings in which the reggae star documented his dissatisfaction with city life under Babylonian rule, and his mistrust of certain people around him, in the run-up to his murder in ’87. Recorded using sliced source material, Roland synth, re-sampled guitar and a rowdy one-take session with the open spring reverb thundering through echo pedals, hard delays and distortion, ‘Red X’ brilliantly bridges dubwise, isolationist electronics and modern soundsystem dynamics, the stoic half-step of its opening section gradually hewn apart with a ruffneck 4/4 thump, warping sub-bass and a hellfire of high frequencies.
Spacious, spry and airy, but with the threat of violence never far way, B1 ‘Ice & Blood’ feels like something picked up on an ebbing pirate signal, with deep blue synths holding fast against stepping razor drum edits. The deep, dread ambience of B2 ’Blood & Ice (Version)’ was coaxed out of an acetate dubplate of ‘Ice & Blood’, and the crackly old 7” run-out groove of Tosh’s ‘Oh Boombaclat’, shot through ’70s Copicat tape-delay and an array of effects. It powerfully evokes the the last breath, or perhaps first gasp, after the rain, after the violence. Peace at last.