Osi and the Jupiter - Appalachia
Ambient Darkwave Neofolk
3 songs (21'33")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

When using the term neofolk I always remain a little leary, thinking that the “folk” part has to be specific to the band’s region of origin. The copout of calling this type of music simply ambient actually gets around the issue. In the case of Osi and the Jupiter neofolk definition should definitely apply. Ambient music it is certainly, the EP is inspired by the band’s roots in Appalachia, or even more specifically southeastern Ohio. I have had a chance to visit the area around Hocking Hills park and Logan, OH, and can attest to the nature’s beauty there, sloping mountains, rolling green hills, wooded areas, mountain caves, waterfalls and serene streams. Somewhat sadly, economy wise, this is not the most sound area of our state, and many people live their lives in hardship. The folk in Appalachia are independent, strong spirited and immensely proud. For those with an interest in history, the saga of Hatfields and McCoys took place there on the Ohio/West Virginia border.

Opening up with They Ride Through the Sky on Horse Drawn Chariots Osi and the Jupiter immediately drown the listener in serene ambient synth originated noise, but it is cello which is a real star here. Going on simultaneously soothing and rousing runs, it absolutely captivates. Osi and the Jupiter is a duo with Sean Kratz handling everything but cello, but he cannot lose Kakophonix as a partner, as without cello Osi and the Jupiter will be a lot less distinguishable. The title track, for example, is a nice electroacoustic strum with Sean applying his soft plaintive almost spoken vocals over the top. It is only after cello enters the picture, however, the song achieves that extra layer which makes the band a cut above someone very amateur plying their art at some coffee shop or a little town art festival. The Binding Will of Mountains combines together everything Osi and the Jupiter has to offer. The synth is layered, deeper and heavier on one end, yet also higher and more glacial in flow at the same time. Cello frets restlessly above this serenity sometimes, like a caged bird seeking freedom. The unison of cello, guitars plus voice around 4’ is probably my favorite moment on the EP.

Osi and the Jupiter is quality darkwave neofolk, but cello is a must have for the band. Perhaps I am biased, since every time it seems this instrument is present in a decidedly non-metal album I seem to fall prey specifically for its deep chesty sound (Raphael Weinroth-Browne, Grayceon).

Killing Songs :
The Binding Will of Mountains
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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