Concept albums seem to be a dime a dozen these days. Or a Euro a dozen, a Pound a dozen and so on and so forth. However, conceptual releases are all that more rare. What’s fascinating, then, about the latest offering from electronica and ambient label Romeda Records, the Cinnamon Fog EP, by Owlbinos of Northfield, is the way in which it has been released and the reason behind its release. In essence, Owlbinos of Northfield has opted to both offer the Cinnamon Fog EP digitally as well as on the now largely defunct format of the floppy disk. Madness? Well, slightly, but more so method.
The result is an interesting one. Digitally, the EP works well as a standalone representation of the kind of dreamy, atmospheric compositions that the somewhat enigmatic producer is making. On the other hand, the floppy disk release that bears the same tracks and remixes is teeth-grindingly ungraspable. However, the dichotomy between both is where the magic lies. It’s intriguing to listen to in comparison to the digital release, and so, the nuances that are readily available digitally are transformed into block-like, old-school midi sounds on the floppy disc, conveying the distance that we’ve travelled technologically.
The remixes are a treat too. On one format, they’re well-arranged, at times vastly different but thoroughly enjoyable, and on the other, they’re represented in a way that’s a complete novelty to the modern listener. It’s a matter of urgency, for example, that you listen to the digital remix of ‘Cinnamon Fog’ by Glitchfield Plaines (another Romeda main-stay) and then do the same with the floppy disc, low fidelity doppleganger. It’s….bizarre, but it works so well in contrast and displays a creative avenue that has been largely unexplored until now, or rather, hasn’t needed to be explored until now.
It’s not for everybody, but, for those interested in sound and the dynamics of sonic creation and consumption, the Cinnamon Fog EP will be more than enough to entertain and raise a few eyebrows. Challenging music is often the most rewarding, is it not?