øjeRum | A Certain Grief
Shimmering Moods Records (CD/CS/DL)
Danish artist øjeRum (Paw Grabowski) just delivered a delicate and masterful work, available in a few formats via Amsterdam’s Shimmering Moods. Nine tracks, simply separated by Roman numerals that are delightfully airy, melancholic, and dare I say — romantic. The atmosphere is soft and lush, without much edge, the brightness is in moderating pastels. And then there’s the physical release, which includes some assorted handmade details by the collage artist himself – and as I am writing this most have sold out and some have extremely limited quantity remaining.
By employing an old pump organ as well as spare crackling effects (that come from the actual old house in which this was recorded) and an open sound, the record was mixed with a muffled gauzy layer effusing this sense of suspension. You are left with an intriguing setting that comes off as slightly mysterious, and most certainly cinematic. Though the tracks are broken up, this really has a play-through flow as if it were a single track sorted into ‘stanzas’ for reasons unknown. Only in the transition between tracks four and five does this blank space take hold, finding a breach between vignette-like works. It is on V that the energy sinks deeply, perhaps corroborating the tale of ‘a certain grief’ herein. It’s a dense turn into an uncertain gray area that is palpable and daunting.
Grabowski is like a one-man orchestral genie, and A Certain Grief is a slice of emotional reality as “recorded in freezing cold, with gloves on & candlelights”. Heartfelt, this never grovels, in fact he seems to maintain the light at the end of the tunnel most of the time here, and without becoming derivative or sappy. This runs on that very fine edge of playing on the ears’ tingling sensitivities while not giving too much away – though the strumming and scope of timbre is wide in range. If you dig the era of shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins this may very well be in your wheelhouse, just fully instrumental and a bit more adrift. øjeRum’s poignant work leaves you in a dusty quiet place in the end.