Opening track ‘Cold Love’ is more-or-less the perfect introduction to Om Unit’s latest record, entitled ‘Self’. Moody, dark, and atmospheric, it sets the scene for a piece of work that is evidently aware of its scale, mood, central theme and the feelings it endeavours to provoke.
As the name suggests, the album is more introspective and tempered than some of its creator’s output to this point. Let’s not forget, this is the man that produced one of the highlights of the Soundcloud ‘Jungle War’ of a few years back, so we know full well he’s perfectly capable of doing fierce and vitriolic.
Previous albums ‘Inversions’ and ‘Threads’ were certainly not lacking atmospheric, orchestral and expansive production. But on ‘Self’, this seems to be heightened, with soundscapes that are incredibly vast and filmic. None more so than lead single ‘Out of The Shadows’, the strings from which have echoes of the Shawshank Redemption soundtrack – albeit combined with rolling jungle snares and stabbed synths.
If anything, the occasional vocal offerings – from legendary MCs Rider Shafique and DRS, and A/T/O/S vocalist Amos – actually seem somewhat superfluous, serving to draw the listener out of the entrancing mood created by the aural ambience. However what they do offer lyrically admittedly ties in well with overarching themes of self-reflection and the human condition.
While it would be unrealistic to expect this (or in fact any) album to match Burial’s seminal work ‘Untrue’, the now-ten-year-old classic is a record that comes to mind at several points when listening to Om Unit’s latest LP. And anything that can invoke a similar emotional response in creating a pervasive and tangible mood is without doubt worthy of praise.
Fans of his harder-hitting and energetic stylings might not take to it as much as his previous albums, but with ‘Self’, Om Unit may well have released his finest record to date.
Words: James Kilpin
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