REVIEW: OIM Records — Shared Secrets: Wave (COMPILATION LP)
A lot of albums hitting store shelves this year have a hearty dose of insularity in their bones, both aesthetical and aural alike, but there are few you’ll find that make as bold and dexterous a use of it as the new compilation Shared Secrets: Wave from OIM Records does.
From the moment we get started with “Old Days” by Clef, it’s obvious that no tonal element — regardless of how seemingly minuscule — will go unutilized in this piece, with this point later being confirmed in Astralien’s “Seriphos,” Dean Thomas’ “Aura” and Death Rider Demons’ “Robot Friend” as well. Here, we find different artists from across the underground spectrum working towards the same mission in redefining the identity of modern pop, and from psychedelic-tinged melodicism ala Nene’s Butler’s “We Are Controlling” to the splendid layers of sound we discover in Simpll Sin’s “Rain” and valo.fisen’s “Rooftop Sunset,” there’s scarcely a moment in which this tracklist doesn’t live up to its hype. OIM Records are a source you need to keep on your radar this spring, and it would surprise me a great deal if I were the only music critic to note as much.
ABOUT OIM RECORDS: https://oim-records.com/
There’s so much instrumental intensity presented at varying speeds in Knuckled Fruit’s “Lost — Found,” Oghamyst’s “Set My Heart Ablaze” and Movie Night’s “Splash!,” and yet the disciplined manner in which these artists tackle the aforementioned material doesn’t allow for any specific moments to become overwhelming. The collective experience of taking in Shared Secrets: Wave is admittedly geared more towards the serious audiophile than it is the average pop consumer, but I for one don’t really see anything wrong with this for the simple reason that the content here never advertises itself as anything less than erudite.
There’s credibility beyond the songcraft; it’s in the structure of the tracklist, lending additional strength to songs like Death Rider Demons’ “Robot Friend” and Vox Initium’s “Spatial Ascension” that might not have been a factor in this release otherwise. I love the balance and overall thoughtfulness of the selections, and had OIM put less of an effort into the finished product, I can’t say that this album would feel like the hypnotic juggernaut of alternative musicianship that it is in this state.
Shared Secrets: Wave is one of the more impressive compilations I’ve heard in the past two years, and whether you’re cherry-picking its tracklist or playing straight through all thirteen of its songs, this is a record that doesn’t require a handy skip button. Between the cool attitudes of Themorethanevers and the blissful hybrids of noise, post-rock and ambient music ala Mighty Bear’s “Alfaskeid 21,” everything presented to the audience in this LP feels personal and intimate, more in line with what you’d expect from a cohesive album by a singular artist than you ever would a mixer of different bands and solo acts trying to make a name for themselves in the most competitive era pop has ever known. It’s a slam dunk for music fans, and really anyone with a taste for the avant-garde at its most spellbinding.