Thursday 15 March 2012

Ohama - I Fear What I Might Hear (1984)

We're sometimes boggled by the quality of stuff that comes out of our fair city, and this LP - heck, anything by Ohama - is one of those cases. Tona Walt Ohama self-released a series of amazing electronica records in the 80's. Weird Canada did an excellent write up of this earlier this year:
A familiar scene: a young dreamer alone in his parent’s basement makes music to escape loneliness and boredom. Now, the unusual thing about this scene is that this basement is filled with state-of-the-art (for 1984) home-recording equipment and synthesizers and is located in rural Alberta surrounded by endless potato fields, miles from anything remotely metropolitan. For the young Tona Walt Ohama, the major portals to the world-at-large from his isolated farm were through television, radio and records. A well-rounded diet of classical, rock, prog and most importantly New Wavers like Gary Numan & John Foxx gave Ohama the vocabulary he needed to beam beautiful analog messages from his farm to the greater world. I Fear What I Might Hear, Ohama’s first album proper, is a masterpiece of modern folk-form, perfectly capturing the Canadian cultural climate of the early eighties and its effect on a sensitive young mind. I Fear is at once as introspective and pastoral as Nick Drake, but rather than evoking acoustic images of Camus and moody English moors it speaks of McLuhan and a plugged-in landscape that is equal parts muddy toil and media spoil. The LP works effectively as a cohesive document partly because the existential themes of isolation, identity and cultural decay are explored as lyrical subject-matter throughout, but also because the songs are all stitched together using a concrete pastiche of sounds that ranges from idyllic & rustic (animals & water) to industrial & urban (engines & TV). Truly, this is a prescient letter of distress and dislocation revealing the disappearance of a dichotomy, where it doesn’t matter where you live, Google will find you. Don’t be afraid though, it’s a great comfort to know that Ohama’s clear and visionary voice is out there in the Great Wide Aether.
There's also an extended conversation with Tona Walt Ohama here.
Side One
Of Whales
Midnite News IV

Side Two
Where Do You Call Home?
Midnite News II
Body of Vagrant Waves
Part in Peace

All songs written, performed & produced by Tona W. Ohama
"Sometimes" lyrics by Johannes Halbertsma & Ohama.
"Where Do You Call Home?" cassette letter Dave Albiston.
"Body of Vagrant Waves" lyrics by Rick Therrien

Cover prints by Linda Ohama

Thank you
Chris Daniels, Heather Elton, Mary Jo Fulmer, Bruce Toll, Raymond S. Walker

Made in Canada
Recorded on a potato farm 8 tracks
(c) 1984 Ohama Records, Box 90, Rainier Alberta, Canada T0J 2M0
Published by Midnite News Music (PRO CAN) 1984
Ohama released a deluxe limited-edition box set, collecting I Fear What I Might Hear and all his other recordings, in 2006. He's also made these available via iTunes, so we won't post the album here. 


Anonymous said...

too expensive

Anonymous said...

no, you're just too cheap.