Several festival announcements have already set the dedicated fans of glitch virtuoso Opiuo into a state of anticipation. In contrast to years past, we already have a solid string of international appearances to look forward to, even with his complete touring schedule yet unreleased.
The video we’re showcasing inaugurates the release of the first set of these dates, a short Australasian run he’ll make in before jumping the Pacific to American festival circuit. I say conquer because America is late in the glitch-hop movement, despite our affinity for Pretty Lights, Griz, and Gramatik, i.e. electrified hip-hop, midtempo has never grasped our fancy.
But what about KOAN Sound? Haven’t legends in the genre made their mark in the states? Surely Skrillex made that happen by signing the duo to early OWSLA releases, Funk Blaster and The Adventures of Mr. Fox? I’d agree that while I’ve held out hope for the KOAN Sound to sink in over years, the simple answer is no, although Skill may have “introduced us to KOAN Sound”, their bass-heavy, funk-infused tracks were never thrown the promotional weight more popular genres on the OWSLA brand receive.
I’m sure Skrillex would disagree, but its hard to argue with the evidence of smaller crowd sizes, fewer festival billings, and of course, a lack of emulative productions from the masses of producers coming up on the Soundcloud. In addition, few fewer funky-glitchy artists have signed or stayed (Kill Paris) with OWSLA, and in the four years elapsed since Funk Blaster, no simultaneous American glitch movement has risen to correlate with what we’ve heard transpiring in Australia and the UK.
Those Americans we do have an affinity for the sound feel a bit left out in the cold, but rather than blame Skrill or Jim Bastow and Will Weeks of KOAN Sound personally for their relative silence in the discourse (I don’t feel artists have any necessitated obligation to self-promote) I’ll rather extol the efforts of Opiuo in “promoting” the “genre” on American soil.
Without backing from an imprint, crew, or creed Opiuo stands alone as a producer who won his support through his own industry. His music speaks for itself, and draws listeners like Harold and the Purple Crayon, but he’s also done heaps of talking himself in personal interviews with journals across the board, about glitch-hop and the funky stuff, cluing us into the work of friends and influences- providing a real context to understand where his music originated, and how its led us to what we’re hearing today.
Although he’s an outspoken critic of genres and their fallacious attempts to oversimplify his own production, Opiuo famously owned up to “not minding” a glitch-hop classification in our first interview-
“People often put me in with the glitch-hop thing which is fine. I’m quite happy with it because it’s where I came from and how it started for me.” (10/4/13)
While Opiuo’s productions do carry more weight than any words yet mustered in description, his beats and early structures bore the glitch-hop name into complex progressions before chopping them apart, startling listeners with strange continuity in new sequences. Even better, Opiuo did a lot of explaining, and Americans, especially on the West Coast where Dave Tipper and the Fuel Crew used to run, got wise to the sound.
The Summer of 2015 marks a shift in the wind, not only do the Opiuo Band, KOAN Sound, and Tipper have clear charter of the continental U.S., several other smaller producers are walking the road they’ve since paved, including Mr. Bill, The Funk Hunters, and K-Lab.
The promotional video Opiuo has released gives us new insight into whats further in store for his upcoming tour with the newly assembled Opiuo Band.
If you found this article less of promotional blurb and more of a history lesson in glitch-hop and cultural effusion, calm down, more coverage of the Opiuo Band is coming on Electricept, and besides the man made a video, complete with an unreleased outro for us, the listeners, so we know, so I don’t have to tell, and the story goes on…
P.S. He’s sporting a KOAN shirt in the video, I take this as sure indication collaborations or B2B action is forthcoming at several mutual billings on the upcoming festival circuit, although I won’t fly off the handle just yet.