Back in 2007, Arthur Oskan released two collections from his very first forays into musical production and performance. Entitled 1995-97 – The Auracle Sessions Vol. 1and Vol. 2, they comprised 20-odd tracks of deeply atmospheric music that ranged from twisted acid house to downtempo and broken-beat Boards of Canada-esque electronica. While Oskan’s methods, structures and subject matter may have developed through the years, it’s clear from A Little More Than Everything that his fondness for deeply evocative, dreamlike soundscapes hasn’t wavered.
Those aforementioned structures are, in A Little More Than Everything‘s case, largely techno. Given Oskan’s repute as a live performer, it’s actually a little surprising how “clubby” the album, on the whole, feels. You could well imagine that this debut would be the perfect setting to indulge in long, beatless, meandering pieces. Instead, Oskan draws out long phrases and loops within otherwise quite uniform 4/4 moulds. In most cases, this is done with such an acute attention to detail that the relative barrenness of the tracks in question act as a celebration of single-mindedness, forgoing all unnecessary distractions in favour of a single, unifying point of clarity.
Take “Fat Mobile,” for example. After the shimmering ambience of “Sentimental” and the spectral groans of “Blood from a Stone” have gently eased you into the album, the guttural low end of “Fat Mobile” thumps hard, at first feeling like an uninvited, drunken guest banging at the door of your sophisticated dinner party. But once Oskan has drawn all the suspense possible out of a few hesitant chords during the elongated break and the cacophonous bass returns, it feels good, right and entirely welcome.
Similar in structure but far darker in tone, “Morning Call” embarks on its seven-and-a-half minute journey with little more to show for itself than a rigidly menacing, hostile bassline. It’s edgy, but not oppressively so, the tension again broken by a drawn-out break in the clouds. Towards the end of the album Oskan delves deeper into melody. Both “Two Seasons” and “Moodswings” are hauntingly beautiful analogue pieces, with the latter’s gently trembling undulations pulling especially urgently on the heartstrings. Despite the obvious care and attention with which the rest of the album has been crafted, these two closers can’t help but make me wish for five or six more in a similar vein, the result of which would surely have been a truly stunning album rather than just one that is undeniably excellent.