[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Curiosity has a way of leading you places you’d normally not go. Actually, scratch that. Places you’d avoid is a better description. Now I don’t know how Ohm Meta’s creative process works but I’ll tell you this: “Nego” is not for the timid or the complacent. You need a mind that is quite open to get into what is going on here and here’s why… each song deliberately goes in several different directions and incorporates a range of instruments which I can only term adventurous. This is the key to “Nego”. It is not so much an album as an undertaking on the part of the listener. Should you happen to come across a copy of this one, snap it up. Listen sparingly, let your thoughts guide you back to why you picked “Nego” out. Wait for it to connect with you.
Because it will. I assure you it will, and when it does you’ll wonder how you ever got along without hearing it before. Ynoji’s work is the only thing comparable to this so just forget all the parallels people around you choose to draw. Ignore the dismissive sneers. “Nego” is a very special record, the type of recorded outing you get only a few times per decade.
Imagine yourself in a pharmacy where those who work on prescriptions grind them out by hand and then reduce them in a crucible, then place yourself in their shoes looking down at the compounds they have wrought. That’s what Ohm Meta have done in a nutshell. I really cannot expound on what this artist does any more succinctly. A master lab technician who concocts his sounds only through intense perseverance under an unblinking, omnipresent eye. There must have been numerous versions of each and every track on here, revision after revision, night after night of unswerving dedication to the crafting of these wonderful compositions.
Ohm Meta play around with many styles, never afraid to sample from one and then place it within another. Something which I noticed after you reach the halfway point on “Nego” is just how relentlessly funky it becomes. Luminaries from Minneapolis in particular are who I hear quite strongly on these latter tracks. Not a deliberate influence, mind you. It’s all in the tone and feel of how everything plays off of one another, particularly in a song such as ‘Mobile Suits’. I’m in the midst of a conversation without words, an overture which wouldn’t be out place in the midst of, say, Bootsy Collins switching gears from 3/4 to 5/4.
But just as quickly as that track transpires, it all gets frozen and digital again. “Nego” shifts like sands in the desert. Unchanging through the ages but moving with purpose. There’s nothing aimless about this collection of tunes, the focus is finely honed and though they’d never do it, a vinyl edition of this would be astounding to hear. So many tiny layers of unique sounds pop and flash at random intervals, I’ve listened a myriad of times but it’s obvious this album isn’t done with me yet. Back I go.