Speedy Wunderground continue their flair for finding and nurturing new talent, this time with the release of “OGO”, a debut single – and one that follows a triumphant performance at the Pitchfork Festival earlier this week – from the much-tipped South London two-piece O..
Formed during the first lockdown, the duo started improvising together at home with just acoustic sax and drums before securing studio time in Peckham to start experimenting further with guitar pedals, amps and studio effects units, all pushing the limits of their two instruments – a rule put in place that everything was to be made by manipulating and layering their sax and drums alone.
A sound evolved far bigger than the sum of its parts, the dedication to live performance and the need to be in the moment extending to their thrilling, ever-shifting debut single, one which they won’t hear until you do.
Sax player Joe Henwood had the following to say about how “OGO” came about:
‘We wrote OGO in a soundcheck in Oslo, whilst on tour supporting black midi. It had hit minus 5 outside so we started jamming something fast to try and keep our hands warm.
Playing live is a really big part of O., so we loved the Speedy Wunderground approach of recording one track in one day, holding off on major edits, and we are not even listening to the track until it’s released. It’s just the two of us on the single (as it is live) with Dan Carey and Adele Phillips helping us recreate that gig feeling in the studio.’
Despite no studio material until today, O. haven’t needed it to cause a buzz, feverish word spreading about the communal joy of their live performances alone. After a debut show at Brixton’s Windmill, the venue owner was so impressed he promised to offer them a second show there – this time in support of black midi. After going on first to an audience who had no idea who they were, they left the stage only to be approached this time by the virtuoso drummer of the band, Morgan Simpson, asking them perhaps the best question he could in that moment: “What are you doing in November? Want to come on tour with us?”
As well as cutting their teeth on a full EU tour with black midi and recent supports with the likes of Gilla Band and PVA, O. built ties to their DIY ethics further by organising regular O Zone nights at The Windmill, inviting creatives to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, culminating in a live collaboration between O. and their guest. Bridging further the gap between jazz, live improvisation and alternative music, since August 2021 they’ve hosted the eclectic likes of Wonky Logic (Steam Down, Nala Sinephro), Shunaji, Rosie Turton (Nerija), Izzy Burnham (Steam Down), Tal Janes (Waaju), Pete Wareham (Melt Yourself Down) and Edna (Goat Girl).
Produced, as ever, by the label’s own Dan Carey, “OGO” showcases more of the mercurial magic that is ever-present across the Speedy Wunderground catalogue with its B-side, “dubbO”, a further treat for listeners – a skittish, dubby remix pulled from the roots of “OGO” by Carey.