Even after running JOVM for the past four years, i’m still amazed and flattered when I receive fan mail, especially from folks located in rather far-flung locales across our tiny blue ball. Not too long ago, I received an email from a John Hadrian-Oak, who told me that he had heard about me and the site from a friend who been talking up the site. Along with his brother, Hadrian-Oak is part of an electronic music duo by the name of MadTarot and John Hadrian Oak.
The duo have described their sound as taking influences from rock, hip-hop, electronica and orchestral/film scores and that’s perhaps the most accurate description of what their sound is comprised of – certainly, as you listen to their latest EP. Still Orphans, the material has a sweeping, cinematic quality but with a swaggering, hip-hop feel; certainly, the material sounds as though it can be part of the soundtrack of an action thriller set in the relatively near future…
The EP’s opening single “The Inner Workings Of An Infinite Man” is comprised of buzzing, industrial synths paired with room-rocking 808-style drums. “The Russian Equivalent” has a menacing stomp, paired with sweeping strings – and in some way you can picture the song as being heard in a scene in which the protagonist is trying to escape from a villain in a train station or a moving train across Europe. “Butcher’s Hook” continues the menacing feel of the previous single but with an icy sheen and strings that cut through the menace with an eerie beauty at its center. “Soul Black” begins with buzzing, hard rock guitar chords paired with a dub step beat before turning into a prototypical drum ‘n’ bass track but with a skittering, industrial feel. “The Black Queen” employs a slow waltz-like feel that’s trippy as hell. “Still Living” the EP’s closing track sound as though it could be the backing track for the Wu Tang Clan as it has a swaggering menace, completed by staggering drum programming and swirling electronics. For an electronica album. I can guarantee you that you won’t come across an album that’s so densely layered, complex and yet approachable as this one this year.
Now interestingly, the duo have released the album some time ago and you can get it directly from the band’s website. You can set your own price to purchase it directly from the band and half of the proceeds will go to CentrePoint, a charity dedicated to helping homeless teens in the duo’s native UK.
Personally, I can tell you that I’ve been on the streets, although thankfully briefly but not knowing if you’ll have a safe, warm place to go to or where you’ll get a warm meal are two of the probably the worst feelings in the entire world. And honestly, every small bit does help – and if you’re in the UK, as some of you are, you’ll be helping some of your own.
For more information on CentrePoint: http://centrepoint.org.uk
And you can download the EP here: http://madtarot.com/still-orphans-download