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OOIOO never fail to surprise, every album in their prolific repertoire takes its own unexpected twist. With “Gamel” the band took inspiration from gamelan, a music ensemble that is part of the traditional music of the Indonesian islands. The backbone of this album is the medley of percussion instruments that make up a gamelan, which range from familiar instruments like the xylophone to the lesser known, like the saron. As a band known for their experimentation with odd, offbeat rhythms, the gamelan instruments are a seamless addition to the bands sound. Even more so, the tones of these instruments, which are loaded with ancient tradition, add a new tone and spirit to the music. Intertwined with the percussion instruments are the eccentric vocals of vocalist Yoshimi, which both come in bursts or are stretched through the background. In many of these songs, these vocals become another percussion instrument, another part of the spotty rhythms. The album, filled with all these bizarre qualities, is incredibly colorful. Every song is intricate, and has something to offer when picked apart. There are definite feelings and moods that every song conveys. The songs on this release may not make meaning the way that classic songs do with classic structures, but it is a captivating listen nonetheless. The album is available on Chicago record label Thrill Jockey Records.

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