OOIOO has always created a musical language all its own. Under the leadership of Japanese expertimental music figurehead YoshimiO, also a founding member of Boredoms and Free Kitten with Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), the group has recorded six albums that have subverted expectations and warped perceptions of what constitutes pop and experimental music. After a six year hiatus, OOIOO return to the roots of being a four-piece band on new album Nijimusi, due out January 17th, 2020. The music shows the full spectrum of the unique sound they have crafted throughout the years, which can only be described as “OOIOO”.
It might come as a surprise that Nijimusi was recorded mainly using a conventional rock ensemble of two guitars, bass, and drums. OOIOO viewed their instruments simply as “objects that make sounds”, and took a primitive and basic approach to creating the music. The drum tones fluctuate powerfully through the air, while sounding as if they are being observed under a microscope. Bass notes and electronic bursts are so dense that they sound like they’ve been vacuum-sealed. The arrangement of the tones seem to be almost ancient, transcending the notion of a musical ensemble, suggesting the connectivity and oneness that is inherent in all living creatures.
Founded in 1995 by YoshimiO, OOIOO’s members came together as musicians who move freely between the audible and inaudible, rhythm and non-rhythm, noise and silence. The music they create is a collection of moments and essences of their favorite sounds, captured as they were created before returning into the ether. In 2016, drummer MISHINA joined the band, allowing more freedom in their rhythmic approach and overall sound. Just as each cell in the body consists of a microcosm of its own, the vibrations of each of the members resonate together to create a new life form, a process reflected in Nijimusi.
Nijimusi can be considered music, but is also a work of art that stimulates the sense of touch and smell, while being atmospheric and ethereal at the same time. If music is an art form based on the sense of hearing and the concept of time, this album may be deviating from the conventional definition of music. The work is a reflection of the sounds resonating from OOIOO while as they were completely present in the moment. The sounds are like the cries emanating from a creature called OOIOO, proof that it is a living, breathing being.