Review of Octave Minds Album by Chilly Gonzales

Chilly Gonzalez, a Canadian-Jewish born, now Germany-based musical mastermind of future positions unknown is most notably known for his eloquent compositions, as well as frequent piano chart mash-ups. Coupled with German born electro God Boys Noize, most notable for his mixes of David Lynch, Depeche Mode and Daft Punk, and we have 'Octave Minds'; an ambient follow-up to 2010's debut collaboration 'Ivory Tower'. Stated as 'New Age Electronic Romance', we took a listen to see what the boys had in store this time round.

Chilly Gonzales Octave Minds Album

Track one, 'Symmetry Slice', is a grand taste-bud tickler as we are introduced, first of all, to the world of Chilly Gonzalez. Not only an intro to the album, but an intro for those unfamiliar with Chilly and his genius melodies. At first, there are hints of a much more subtle Boys Noize than we have ever seen before, but it turns out that 'Symmetry Slice' is just an extremely modest track - a taster of much more to come.

Already we're getting a whiff of this notion of a transcending voyage, really digging its teeth into new ground. 'Initials KKK' is a prime example of this, with tinkling essences of Gonzalez's arpeggiating velvet tones, at one, of course, with Boys Noize's ear for tasteful, classy production.

Despite minimalism in both composition and vocal textures throughout 'Octave Minds', the experience falls no shorter with the much murmured collar track 'Tap Dance' ft. Chance The Rapper. Chicago born, world tourin', American flag a' raisin' Chance The Rapper that is.  From Chance's front, there are great flows and great melodies, however on the whole comes not so close to the sub-nautical futuristic vibes to which the rest of 'Octave Minds' adheres.

Tracks such as 'Together', 'Done Deal', 'In Silence' and 'Anthem' hit a home run with the balance between Gonzalez and Noize's mixed pallet. That is to say, soft, sweet melodies from the inner workings of a present day Beethoven, whilst subtly laminated by the clear, crisp motives of Boys Noize's elegant, at times classic, pumping production. On the other hand, tracks such as 'Symmetry Slice' amd 'Rave Face' go to the point of delivering much more of an ambient, Gonzalez-driven monologue.

Overall, a fantastic album and totally mind-blowing innovation. Lucky are we to witness this collaboration so be sure to catch either one of these fellas 'pon the stage around the world. New ground unearthed here - just who can come back with an answer to this self proclaimed 'New Age Electronic Romance'?


Alister Roberts

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