Ot To, Not To – Goshen LP
Following on the heels of Reckonwrong’s ‘Magical Journey mix’ and Nicolas Jaar’s latest album, ‘Sirens’, VA native Ot To, Not To will release his debut album on NYC label Other People this November.
Ot To, Not To is the alias of Ian Mugerwa, a VA based musician who makes experimental RnB. Combining low fidelity electronic recording techniques with unconventional song structures, his music pays homage to dusty old blues recordings.
Mugerwa first began making ‘Goshen’ age 19, after leaving his hometown of Fairfax for Richmond. Whilst sleeping on friends floors, he would sneak into the Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) music facilities at night, with borrowed audio equipment and record until the early morning. Here he began exploring new aesthetics in Black Music through the use of non-traditional methods, creating RnB that starkly contrasts the clean, sterile contemporary form.
On the lead single ‘Regretta II’, Mugerwa subtly layers white noise synthesis to create a damp backdrop to the arrangement, whereas on tracks like ‘Withdrawal and Restraint’ and ‘Never,’ he mixes 40+ layered cello tracks to create the illusion of a full orchestra. Throughout ‘Goshen’, Mugerwa also used button click samples to create the illusion of audio triggering. All tracks were recorded using a combination of both Ableton Live and a broken Tascam 4-track tape deck — most of the drums were recorded last.
The album exudes a love of tiny imperfections inspired by the analog tape recording of artists like Phil Elvrum and Mark Hollis, while the compositional variety of artists like Jim O’Rourke, Sweet Trip and Coil informed Mugerwa’s use of synthesis, rhythm and mood. In addition, ‘Goshen’ is steeped in influence from the countless tapes of Congolese, Zairian and Afro-Latin music played to Mugerwa throughout his childhood by his Ugandan father.
Throughout ‘Goshen’, Ot To, Not To deliberately focuses on experimentation within the context of pop music, believing that music is most innovative when unorthodox ideas are made accessible to all.
1. Withdrawal and Restraint
3. Little One
4. Regretta II
5. Addiction and Indulgence
7. Ever (Kalimba II)
8. Regretta I (ft Noah Smith)