With titles like “Nostalgia for the Present,” “Why Do I Keep Ending Up Here” and “Decay of the False Vacuum,” the fourth album by Toronto-based duo Oneo Fakind is trippy before you even hit play. A study in synth modulations and spacey sound design, The Start of Something manages to raise deep and powerful questions about existence and the universe without any real lyrics involved.
The duo say the theme of The Start of Something was really set with the opening track, “The Coniologist.” Coniology is the study of atmospheric dust, and Coniologists believe the same techniques can be applied to the dust and debris in space. Many believe information about the origin of life, the psyche, memory and the feeling of “home” can be found in studying this dust. :We are all made of stars,” after all.
The purpose of this album for Oneo Fakind was also to relate their own musical style, the somewhat disjointed yet always vivid symphony of chaos they create in their work, as being similar to these celestial elements, and of coursetapping into that larger, coniological consciousness through music and art. As the pair are playing with wave forms, sound patterns and frequencies, they are creating a universe of their own that, if you listen to it, sounds almost as complex and expansive as the universe itself. Almost.
In terms of nailing down an actual sound, most readers might have deduced by now that we’re the extreme reaches of experimental electronica and sound design. That said, it’s not all really far out there and it seems Oneo Fakind have connected with their inner EDMers as well. Tracks like “You’re Not Choking John, the World Is Just Vast” (deserves an award for best song title ever, by the way), “Wonderful” and “The Coniologist” itself are all at the height of dissonant, Tangerine Dream-meets-Philip Glass-like experimental goop, often beatless and with only a piano to ground them. But given the trippy titles, you knew that going in.
The more EDM-ended tracks like “Why Do I Keep Ending Up Here,” “Well Then” and “Moments that Don’t Deserve It” are still pretty experimental, don’t get us wrong. You’re not going to get away from the random glockenspiel sounds that easily. But they do have trackable beats; trance, psytrance and even a little breakbeat can all be heard herein, though if you play these on a DJ setup at a psytrance gathering, you might want to shift out of “Moments That Don’t Deserve It” before it gets too random with the spacey synths. You wouldn’t want a full-on wook breakdown.
There’s also a pretty significant lofi element to The Start of Something. Right around the middle, tracks like “Lofi Tide” (obviously) and “Decay of the False Vacuum” really edge over that line between dissonant experimental chaos into more soothing, lofi tones. They certainly used some of those technical elements to create more static and lofi tone as well.
Despite being really trippy pretty much from the jump, The Start of Something is also a very balanced album Oneo Fakind are another one of those artists who, despite not actually being out there on the decks and not always making the most danceable stuff, are still imperative to EDM because they come up with the sounds that drive all electronica forward. Coniologists of sound particles, if you will.