Olga Bell - Tempo
Russian-born, Alaskan-raised musical raconteur Olga Bell returns with her third album Tempo. Bell’s previous efforts. including 2011’s debut Diamonite (released as BELL), and 2014’s Krai, delved and mined her Russian heritage. The classically trained musician’s latest effort immediately feels very different to those previous releases, dig a little deeper however and you can see this as a culmination of her projects, including her work with Tom Vek as Nothankyou.
The overall feel of the record is a collision of influences; think Moloko crossed with a more electro heavy Tune-Yards, punctuated by Aphex Twin glitches and twitches. All of this is wrapped up with ribcage rattling sub bass. From album opener ‘Power User’ which sounds like Tracey Thorn covering ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’, to ‘Randomness’ with its 90s Acid House synth opener and insistent bass line, via ‘Zone’ with its hip hop 808 kicks colliding with ‘Windowlicker’. This eclectic and quirky mixture collides to implore you to dance like 1992, the the Hacienda. Olga Bell’s previous form with musical exploration means it'd be easy to class Tempo as nothing more than a music student’s year end project – a dissertation into the evolution of club culture, the effects of rhythm and tempo on mood and vice versa. Do so at your own peril.
The end result is something a lot more straightforward and joyous, an album that isn’t too self-conscious to get up and dance like no-one is watching. Tempo's a melting pot of influences that takes the technically gifted composer/producer/singer’s experimentations, wraps then into a tight bundle before throwing them onto a brightly coloured waltzer. Scream if you want to go faster.