THE PRODUCERS OF TOMORROW
WEST COAST EXPERIMENTALIST EXPLORES THE NETHER REGIONS OF RHYTHMIC AMBIENCE
When I get Octavius [aka William Marshall] on the phone to discuss the process behind his stunning new album 'Audio Noir [Mush], initially he's keener to discuss the process behind the perpetual evolution of URB. "I think it's good that the focus has widened," he explains. "When you listen to albums like Radiohead's 'Kid A' and 'Amnesiac', they shouldn't come across as some huge sonic jump for people that read URB. Those records were made to when you're working in any narrow niche."
Such conventions are nowhere to be found on 'Audio Noir', which overflows with a mélange of ideas and influences. Oceanic guitar washes, dense sample collages and distant beat patterns ebb and flow from quiet introspection to disturbing noise bursts. The influence of musical visionaries Tricky, My Bloody Valentine and Aphex Twin can be heard in Octavius' work, influences he's proud to perpetuate. "Sometimes American artists in particular think they've cooked it all up on their own" is his succinct summation.
Initially an MC, he started writing rhymes at age 12, rapping over looped hip-hop beats. His debut EP, 'The Electric Third Rail', was a meditation on returning to the bustle of San Francisco after the tranquility of a stint in Hawaii. But the idea of 'Audio Noir' had been gestating for years. "The idea was to basically sum myself up in one record," he says. "That goes from the eight-minute songs to quiet synth interludes to the raging industrial stuff. That was the idea, anyway."