Octo Octa

She’s Calling EP

Octo Octa's new EP tackles the thorny question of how to make club music for a time without clubs, finds Chiara Wilkinson

Octo Octa’s sound is celebrated for its contemporary interpretations of rave. High-energy and multi-textured, it’s a rare equilibrium of emotiveness and dance-floor ready production which oozes euphoria. It takes a lot of skill, then, to translate that distinct spirit into a soundtrack suitable for a decelerated world.

Drawing on the celestial themes in her 2019 For Lovers EP, Maya Bouldry-Morrison’s She’s Calling is the fourth release on her T4T LUV NRG imprint co-founded with partner, Eris Drew. It’s a three-track record leaking with sentiment, composed of multiple narratives in a contemplative ode to the club and to the earth.

The record opens with ‘Goddess Calling’, a seven-plus minute stomper driven by a wildly catchy rhythmic loop. Overlaid with brassy drums and ethereal synths, beats side-step in and out to allow for moments of quiet contemplation, building to a dainty bridge of melodic piano keys and rising watery notes. Drums distorted and keys snaking into a subtle echo, it’s as though the whole melody becomes submerged and is slowly drowning – until the initial loop returns, cladded in snaps of breakbeat and balmy bass.

The second track and leading single, ‘Find Your Way Home’, was written a few weeks before the pandemic forced Bouldry-Morrison to cancel her tour and head home to the US in early 2020. It opens as a lively old-school house track – a nostalgic nod to ravey disc-scratching, playful vocal samples and dynamic drums – before swerving into a sharp arrangement of propelling beats, quivering bass, and lo-fi synths. Weaving in and out of consciousness via a spiral of liquified vocals, it’s an exercise in the traditional party toolkit, dropping the formula to a release of snappy breaks before being gobbled up by a beautiful acid wobble. The energy escalates as all components grow more eschewed in a great frenzy of emotional discharge, bearing similarity to the track ‘Imminent Spirit Arrival’ on 2019’s Resonant Body, but substituting the ecstasy with immense contemplation.

A therapeutic release from the intensity of the previous track, ‘Spell for Nature’ is an evocation where Bouldry-Morrison draws on religious and tribal traditions of spoken word rituals, supposedly to connect with nature and conjure up something eternal. It opens with an isolated organ chord and shuffling percussion, joined by a resonating gospel house piano riff, light breakbeats, and spoken word poetry. The piano loops as the organ reverberates indefinitely: it’s slow and reflective, with a layering of clichés which could easily risk sounding cheesy. Salvaged by its short playback, it feels like a healing practice, a necessary catharsis guided by the assertiveness of Bouldry-Morrison’s own voice. It ends the record’s narrative by accepting ephemerality rather than fighting it: culminating as an introspective indulgence in her own sound and its connection to forces outside our control.

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