Untitled (Live From Nowhere) is Otro’s debut album, a project possessing a somber spirit that inhabits the intimate spaces of introversion. Otro’s compositions are delicate vignettes, each embracing an insularity where emotional currents shape our objectivity and psyche.
On Untitled, the internal holds on to the familiar comforts of the past, specifically the sentimental feelings of a lost potentiality. Coloured by our emotions, memories are the last of our comforts in an isolated experience – the smallest details grow in significance for the simple fact that they are remembered at all – but they slip away and our imaginations spin out. The result is a yearning for a future that was taken away, one that can never be reached again. We hold on to these memories because it makes us feel safe.
Otro’s selection of analogue instruments are methodical and full of purpose. Strings, harmonicas, horns and organs make significant appearances on Untitled, each voice carefully chosen to anchor the pieces structurally and melodically. The instrumental cameos often feel like an homage, a playful nod to their respective heritage, especially within the classical music tradition.
Otro’s intertwining pieces challenge us to listen for the constantly evolving contrapuntal lines, especially during the slower moments when time is patiently stretched and pulled apart. The added textures change the overall timbre significantly and paying attention to the gradual formation of these compositions is quite gratifying.
Untitled conjures a sense that we are climbing to a climax which eventually strays to ambiguity – build-ups can be left dramatically hanging here, cut short by the most abrupt endings. Though the pieces can be brief there is always a lot for the audience to interpret and unpack with each (re)listen uncovering interactions that were undetected before. This constant renewal (or reconstruction) mirrors the unstable characteristics of memory.
Untitled projects and works often feel distant and unfinished but Otro’s debut offers a warm alternative providing a rich emotional dimension that reveals an overarching melancholic beauty. The project’s achievement is its effective expression of a nostalgia that is as haunting as it is sweet, engaging the listener with a heartfelt intimacy that leaves a lasting impression.
by Oscar Chiu.