Reviewed by Kent Manthie
Having just recently received PUng as an MP3 download, from Connecticut’s Ohsaurus, aka Chris Hoffman, I don’t have a hell of a lot of information about him. Just a few fun facts culled from various online sources (FB, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Discogs.com, Tumblr and others).
What I know most is what I’ve heard and it’s an instrumental album, electronic in design and sound. All synths and computer generated music. There is a laid-back charm about it all, with a chill-out vibe to it. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m back in the late 90s, with some of the techno-styles thrown in. I don’t know if it’s intended or not, but one artist I’m reminded of while listening to PUng is Q-Burns Abstract Message – a one-man outfit, consisting of Michael Donaldson, of whom I first heard when I saw him open for Meat Beat Manifesto; within the next couple days I bought his album, Feng Shui on Astralwerks Records.
This current album, PUng, is a likewise low-intensity, high-voltage recording: completely electronic. Its atmospheric sounds and dance-beat drum programming make for a swirling sonic cup of tea.
Good for coming down after a night of intense partying, dancing, drinking, etc. to intense freak-out remixes and DJ-ing. This would be what you’d play either on your way home, with the woman you picked up or both! It’s not only “chill-out”, but it has a nice ethereal eroticism to it that has a good ambient psychic node for making love, late at night when the lights are still flickering and the juices are flowing. Also good for waking up to the same, on a sunny “after”-morning.
As far as Ohsaurus’s “netlabel” cohort, he sticks out some, in one way for not being as narcissistic as some of the stuff that is next to DIY (to be brutally honest, here)…no circuit-bending, mind-numbing, machine-gargling, just pure white funk powder riding the rails to smoothville.
As for the reference to older techno trance/house music, Ohsaurus isn’t stuck in the 90s really. There isn’t anything that sounds particularly dated on PUng. Hell, I remember a lot of whacked out stuff from that era – Aphex Twin, DJ Keoki, the aforementioned Meat Beat Manifesto as well as Consolidated – all of whom had a hard edge to them, although Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, did have sort of a split musical personality – one that was tweeked-out and savage via super fast staccato beats (The Richard D. James Album) and synth hooks that felt like needles as well as one with a softer, more trance-like aura about it (Selected Ambient Works ’85-’92).
Ohsaurus is like a lone wolf out there in the quickly morphing sphere of musical styles. He’s sticking to what he does and for him it works. Although, I see some untapped potential in there that could be put to more clenching stuff. For the record, however, I’d just like to mention a couple good tracks: “Crossing Dreamgrove” is a fascinating synthesized musical opiate with a nice backbeat and some tricky solo work eked out in the midst of it. Another one worth mentioning is the closer, “Energy We Belong To”, slow-moving at first, but about 2 minutes in it opens up and rains beats and more. Truly deserving of the song title, “Energy We Belong To” is exhilarating and it has a nice groove with the programmed organ vibe. A nice way to close out something that beats anything on any “top 40” list anyday.
He’s been at this now for a while, PUng being one of about 5 or more albums he’s made with myriad netlabels. I hope the best is yet to come! -KM