Occult Stereo ‘Plasma’ is art rock with atmospheric drones, psych rock, experimental and electronic music. Occult Stereo touches upon various genres and each song is a new scene in the abstract drama emerging from the music. There is no narrative, the music is free to go where it desires and the musicians beautiful illustrate the journey.
‘Plasma’ is layered with loops, samples and beat machines. The vocals are rarely lyrical and echo in open vowel notes sung by men and women through sustained echo and reverb to create atmosphere. Guitars, bass, drums and other instruments merge into the soundscape creating beautiful harmonic washes of sound and off-kilter rock music. The guitar parts also get into psychedelic rock in a few of the songs.
The music is ambiguous in meaning and genre, pushing the listener to fill the gaps with their imagination. ‘Plasma’ is intentionally unpredictable and designed to have multiple layers of interpretation which unfold with repeated listens. The care and time dedicated to the album pays off and the music is captivating although slightly disjointed.
Occult Stereo ‘Plasma’ hit the shelves on November 4th 2020 released on Distant Spore Records on 12” vinyl limited to 250 copies available through their Bandcamp site.
Occult Stereo ‘Plasma’ is a solo project from Alex Eliopoulos of the band Impuritan. The album is described by Eliopoulos as an art project where he could freely collaborate with other musicians and allow the music to move in any direction. The album is a collaboration with musicians as faraway as Germany. The ensemble of unique contributions adds the the diversity on the album and makes each song unique.
Featured musicians to record on ‘Plasma’ include Christian Peters (Samsara Blues Experiment, Surya Kris Peters), Kevin Jones & Mark Raymond (Len Bias), Stan Chong (Goose Club, Psychic Twin), TTriss Williams Renard (Spiral Bombs), and more. Alex Eliopoulos has been making music as a multi instrumentalist for the last 25 years and now works in mixing and sound production as well in San Francisco, California.
The project began in 2019 then the nature of the album changed with the onslaught of Covid-19. The project relied on distance and remote recording between artists. This new way of working was difficult but it has become the norm in our brave new world. The recorded material is assembled and arranged by Alex Eliopoulos.
‘Plasma’ must have been a tremendous undertaking having so many contributors each using their own home recording studio. The final product is close to cohesive despite the broad spectrum of musical styles and artists involved. Accomplishing this mix must have been a difficult task. Using recordings from so many sources is a challenge because each person will produce dramatically different sound quality and this could create a sense of disjointed collage but Alex Eliopoulos brought it all together.
The opening tracks ‘Liber Xaos’ and ‘Freedom Eyes’ have fuzzy guitars and a psychedelic rock sound and stand out as highlights on the album. ‘Canadian Bees’ is an Animal Collective like electro-acoustic sound that drones with a multivalent beauty. ‘Beautiful Mind Stroke’ is the most pop friendly tune with surfy guitar leads and dream pop washes. The album has a sense of 90’s and 70’s nostalgia enhanced by the low-fi beats, and dreamy atmospheres. Several of the songs start as droning sound and then transition into rock. These changes and unpredictable transitions obscure where one song begins and another ends.
The vocal performances are an interesting feature on the album and are at their best as background instrumentation. In parts of the album the vocals come forward in the mix as they would in a pop song, but instead of words they just use sounds such as “ah-wah, ah-wah, ah-wah” repeated, and this is unusually and sounds strange.
‘Plasma’ is the first album from Occult Stereo and it embraces diversity in songwriting styles. The album includes folk music with acoustic instruments and strange looped and sampled sound effects as well as rock and roll. ‘Plasma’ plays like a soundtrack with rich textures that paint various scenes from peaceful pastures to cosmic sci-fi compositions.