Street Sounds: Om gets it right

Vernon trip hop duo OM’s (Orion and Marina Miller) second album, The Tipping Point is an evocative mix of urban grooves and environmental message music. The duo and their producer (Steve Winton) find empathy in the neo psychedelic hint-of-reverb vibe that adds sheen to the group’s vocal interplay.

They complement each other sonically: Orion’s biting, rap-influenced vocal balanced by Marina’s rich and mellow delivery.  For two sounds so different, they find common space.  The two are adept in wordplay and a stream-of-sound attack (Mitakuye Oyasin) of clever lyrics that are blunt and colourful (Save the Beat). That song has an insistent dark groove that brings a rustle of unrest to The Tipping Point.

The band’s natural sense of groove and commentary find a fluid direction in the acoustic-based hip hop workout, The Dynamo of Volition – an urban beat lament whose warm vibe the duo finds strength in.

The record’s deep sound has an appealing unpredictability. A New Age earnestness is rounded off by humorous rap lyrics – it’s an unusual combination that keeps the other in check. The thread that ties it all together is a groove cycle that is organic and spacey, a reflection of the lyrics.

OM mixes acoustic and electric instruments with synths, beats and electronics and “gets” how the blend is used to create a flowing groove and hypnotic songs.

— Dean Gordon-Smith is a musician in the North Okanagan whose music reviews appear in The Morning Star every Friday.

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