Ot to, Not to Goshen
Published Nov 16, 2016As Ot to, Not to, Ian Mugerwa combines low-fidelity recording techniques with the intimacy of sonically documenting lived experience. Although the collage sensibility evokes Nicolas Jaar throughout the LP, Goshen tends to sonically veer towards the extensive layering that marks more recent Bon Iver releases.
Orchestral motifs and cinematic strings add a layer of sophistication to the sonic palette of the record, which bears the sultry aspect of R&B throughout. Mugerwa's affinity for gloom and ambience permeate Goshen, but it's juxtaposed with jazz-tinged vocal work and lounge instrumentation that underscores much of the Other People imprint's releases. "Regretta II" stands as the most accessible track on the record.
The album boasts a mature and elastic sensibility, as every sliver of sound has seen extensive manipulation. It features an assortment of found sounds and live-recorded instruments, culled from what seems to be a heartfelt, but haphazard creative process.
And yet, there's something missing on Goshen. It's emotional and intimate, but it isn't emotive, per se. For a record so rooted in personal experience and expression, it's unable to connect the way it seems intended to, sounding more like a journal entry than a record.
The effort is admirable, and the pieces are there; hopefully, Mugerwa can open up just a little more on his next effort. (Other People)