We have all been there. Lying awake in the early hours of the morning, the silent world outside punctuated only by the occasional noise – a lone car passing, an animal going about its nocturnal business, a distant shout – but for you sleep seems to be ever illusive. Oh Well’s latest four song suite puts all of that into a soundtrack, a digital opera to Insomnia and the brains resulting tumbling ideas and interludes, and strange tangential thought processes.
And if the term EDM conjures up something suited to the dance floors of a Mediterranean night club, Insomnia is also a lesson in dance eclecticism, the ability to find, filter and reform all manner of other styles and sounds, and blend them into the genres more recognisable sonic building blocks. Life is Better Online speaks to the skittering, over active brain, reliving scenes and situations, unable to power down and recharge. But it’s songs such as Blindfolds Off which show you just how wide ranging the musical vision is here, sounding like a tune from a musical theatre production, albeit one built from and set in the dance world.
The title track is suitably claustrophobic, a busy, frantic delivery which creates lulls and dynamics from unexpected inclusions such as fluttering harps and spacious musical oasis, and Moving On is the perfect fusion of brain overloads and robotic, clinical grooves.
Insomnia is a great insight into the world of the sleep deprived but it is also a wonderful example of how you change the face of dance music. Maybe the silver lining found in all those hours of lost sleep is the amount of thought which has gone into this EP. Karma, it’s a funny old business isn’t it?