Various Artists - O'Bosque/Woodland Sampler
Record Label: O'Bosque/Woodland
Release Date: June 12, 2010
O'Bosque/Woodland is an online record label based in London. Fronted by a Brazilian/Italian named Cesar, the label was founded in the late 90s. O'Bosque/Woodland draws on its CEO's eclectic musical palate and draws on his globe-hopping travels. To date, Cesar has lived in Brazil, Italy and England.
How is it?
Terrific, but also quite lengthy. With more than 20 songs on the disc, this sampler is a lengthy affair and certainly needs to be accomplished in more than one sitting. While it can certainly get done in one, the heady material at work on this disc definitely needs at least two sit down listens, if not more.
One has to credit Cesar for going about about music this way. While music continues to go through its dramatic metamorphosis, the DIY record executives are feeling the pinch even more. O'Bosuqe/Woodland is proof of this. On his record label's mission statement, Cesar points to high costs as the sole reason behind the whole on-line only format.
The bands themselves are certainly an odd bunch, but almost 75 percent are worth repeated listens and passing along to friends. Opener "I Saw You Walking," by Transmittens is spacey and droning but has a nice movement, due mostly to gorgeous female vocals. There's a good chance this band will find a home at Aquarium Drunkard or My Old Kentucky Blog. "Sever All Your Ties," by The Argyle Wishlist is shaky and haunting and is easily a mixtape must. Equal parts languorous and quavering, it's a compelling listen and a definite triumph. The compilation dips until "All Winter Long," by Magic Crayon, a gorgeous and intimate song backed by sterling musicianship and an indelible melody.
The disc dips again until "Antes de Cenar," by Cineplexx, a song which features vocals sung in Spanish and a sun-kissed exuberance that's downright infectious. "Serpenteando," by Forogama boasts sweetly plucked guitar, male-female vocals sung in Spanish and a rousing organ. To call this a favorite would be selling it short. Plain and simple, Forograma know what the heck they're doing. "Out of Place," by Next to Beluga features a soothing melody, supple female vocals and a rhythm that glides along like a summer breeze. Gauzy and gossamer, the cut is backed by a winsome xylophone intro and outro. "Prayer," by I Luv Luv Birds is dense, thick and slighlty urban. There's a Stevie Nicks and Gnarls Barkley vibe to it and if that's tough to imagine, give the song a listen and see for yourself. Brassy and lilting, it's an absolute smash. But then the disc takes a huge dip downward and only three of the remaining eight songs are worth writing about.
"This Is How I Feel," by Zmitser Vol Holzman is intimate and timeless, buttressed by fingerpicked acoustic guitar, ample amounts of falsetto and a movement that would make the late Nick Drake blush. "Il Sacro Screamo," by Zanin is swirly, eccentric and earnest. Once again the vocals aren't sung in English but after a few listens, the track certainly leaves an impression. Sadly there's nothing to report about until album closer "Miel (rehearsal recording)" by Macia Dos Veranos. Acoustic, moving and highly memorable, it's the introduction of a new female artists to put on the proverbial music radar.