Diaz de Leon explores the limits of hallucinatory music through his project Oneirogen. Back in 2012, the debut album of Oneirogen, Hypnos, came into existence, combining experimental and heavy music, with the inclusion of big sounding synths, abrupt noise explosions and dark ambient yearnings, all under a veil of distortion and emerging soundscapes. A year later, Kiasma would be released, with Oneirogen intensifying further their sound with the addition of a doom metal-like weight and some black metal tendencies in terms of their ambiance. Those elements co-existed perfectly with their electronic core, with the parts fitting naturally with each other.
Now, Oneirogen prepares for the release of their third full-length, and in order to cause anticipation to rise even more, they unveil their new EP, Plenitude. There is a distinct leaning towards minimalism in some of the tracks. “Oxygen” for instance takes this approach, slowly beginning to awake the soundscapes of Oneirogen with bursts of synths. The sound is electrified and the deeper bass line acts like the source of rhythm for the track, with a slight otherworldly aura rising from the background later on, taking the form of a promise, or a menace. The title track also takes on this minimalistic form, this time around with drone aspects of Oneirogen's experimental electronics coming into view. The background of the track seems to be altering and evolving but at the same time remaining constant and present, while the spoken word parts give a darker tone with their astral messages.
Even though vocals have been quite sparse in the works of Oneirogen, in Plenitude they make quite an appearance. The lines in “Collapsing” take on a complete noise form, with a healthy dose of distortion applied to them, granting a very aggressive quality to the music. At times they might feel like they have been buried beneath the synths, but their effect is imminent and when they are at the forefront, they feel unstoppable. “Vessel” also features similar outbursts of the temperamental vocals, making the whole ocean of noise that is explored in the track even more unwelcoming and hostile. The noise on its own is tremendous part of this EP. From creeping moments, as is the case with the delay effects in the start of “Collapsing” it is infecting the soundscapes with its edge. At other times it is also applied to the rhythm of the track, as is the case with “Emergence” resulting in a fired up recital of disorientation.
Apart from the inclusion of vocals, Oneirogen make another step towards a different direction with Plenitude. That is the inclusion of percussion in this work, which gives a colder, industrial-like quality to some of the parts in the EP. The heavy percussion in the background of “Collapsing” is such an example with the heavy beats having a really cool bounce to them, crafting the pace of the track. It is not so much the synthetic tone that grants that industrial-esque aspect to Oneirogen, but rather the way the parts are laid out. “Vessel” also moves towards the electronic domain, still with a touch of industrial to it.
The core of Oneirogen though has not gone through massive changes. Sure, the inclusion of vocals and percussion is something new, but the main force of electronic music and noise is as present as it has always been in all the releases of Oneirogen. The expansive quality of the synths in “Collapsing” are filling the soundscapes with their ethereal quality, and the manner in which they are interacting with the noise input, at times even hiding behind the layers of fuzz, creates great contrast. The fleeting synths in “Vessel” appear in the soundscapes of the track and again interact with the noise in an astounding manner. Finally in “Emergence” the synths take on a more delicate approach, with their ethereal vibe being unveiled as they are arising from the noise beats and industrial repetition. The expansive vision is further enhanced, with multiple layers of synths joining in and achieving a towering and imposing personification for Oneirogen, while slight noise addition, industrial precision and synths sounds blur into a coherent result.
Plenitude does exactly what it is supposed to, and that is whet you appetite for the new Oneirogen full-length. It gives a glimpse to the changes and the evolution that are occurring in the project, and it will be interesting to see whether there are also further alterations and mutations in this upcoming full-length.
7.5 / 10
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