Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed
This Middle Ground (Castor & Pollux Music)
You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a band name that’s more opaque than Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed. Frustrating by design, it’s a combination of letters and words that were chosen simply because they “seemed to make sense together,” main member Nathan Hubbard explains.
It’s an intentional departure from more common names like, say, The Chimps or The Burritos. Since the name doesn’t carry the same associations that come with more common names, the listener is perhaps more likely to focus on the music. Still, the opposite could also happen: By raising so many interesting questions, the name might risk stealing attention away from the music. That would be unfortunate, because the music is definitely worth paying attention to.
This Middle Ground, available at translationhasfailed.bandcamp.com, is composed of eight parts that are evenly divided into two extended tracks, the 20-minute “Side A” and 19-and-a-half minute “Side B.” It’s a necessary move, because this is the kind of record you need to listen to in one sitting. In the vein of jazz maniac John Zorn and experimental überman Mike Patton, the group deftly crosses Brazilian exotica, heady electronic music and cathedral-sized doom-metal to create a cohesive whole out of radically disparate elements.
With its unpredictable forays into funky samba drumming and churchy pipe organ, the varied effort brims with wonderment. Still, the group is at its strongest in the middle section, when it strays from obvious genre markers and descends into a doom-laden sound-world all its own. In the final minutes of “Side A,” operatic singer The Cricket Queen guides the listener through a purgatory of ambient percussion and subterranean piano. For much of the first half of “Side B,” a feverish cloud of lurching bass and atonal synths gradually—and remarkably—morphs into a mutated bossa nova jam that’s fit for a science-fiction-themed rom-com.
Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed might be hard name to remember, spell correctly or even recognize as a name. In the end, though, it’s just a name. What’s important on This Middle Ground is that the music is just as provocative and enthralling as the ideas behind it.
Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed will celebrate the release of This Middle Ground at 98 Bottles on Saturday, April 28.