Baba – ‘Odd Potion’ Cassette [Where To Now?]

Still riding on the cassette tip, here’s a brilliant debut full length from Dublin based producer Baba aka Daragh Monaghan, coming to us from the Where To Now? camp.

Pure class on this release, not just in the stunning design of the risographed sleeve that wraps the tape, but mostly in the delivery of the original ideas as a total musical experience. Each side here is a 30-odd minute sonic journey through what was likely individual sketches from Baba, though equally could’ve been composed live, such is how good it flows.

The press release talking about the space where sci-fi meets techno is spot-on, as is the gaming reference and shouts to Jeff Mills. You can see the futurist visions from the outset as well as the other-dimensional vibes created from either the emptiness of space or the classic video game worlds, depending which part you’re listening to.

You could even legitimately hypothesise that the title of the release – Odd Potion – is in fact a direct shout-out to Ocarina Of Time, and on it’s own could’ve sound tracked a short-animation to rival Daft Punk’s visual offerings. It’s that good at creating another place in your head through music.

Despite the overall coherency on the release we’ve still got enough diversity to keep it surprising, and even a tale of two sides. The A-side is concentrated on isolating sounds, and creating an atmosphere of cold space and a robotic existence. There’s moments where the drum machines are put through the paces, and these parts are the stand-out moments. The patterns work independently of other elements, concentrating on isolating sounds and creating a driving atmosphere.

The first ten-minutes are my favourite of the whole release, and when they eventually back down for techno synth movements, it’s this period of the release that’s set things up for the remainder of the listen.

Flip it over and the top parts of the B-side are where the fantastical fast-moving 64-bit worlds dazzle you with shimmering keys, and the kicks and snares chug along to compliment it from the background. It’s much tighter and much more polished. The club tracks might come from here, blending in with some of the underrated UK funky pieces of a few years back, or later Lone workings.

Baba is certainly not the first artist to release two lengthy compositions as a debut, and probably not the first to use this ‘self-mix’ style of diverse workings within it either. The release of Odd Potions is, however, not only one of the best releases like this that we’ve come across, but also one of the most impressive debuts in general.

Don’t sleep on this one.

via Where To Now?
Baba ‘Odd Potion’ is the debut full length release from Dublin resident Daragh Monaghan. ‘Odd Potion’ manages to create a world that is aesthetically always referencing a fantastical vision of imagined mystery, yet allowing the real history of dance music into this otherworldly space.

Daragh cites Jeff Mills as an influential figure, in terms of his ability to allow his genuine interest in Sci-Fi and space into the DNA of his music – it’s success lies in it’s clear passion for other subjects, as Daragh notes about his own music “I guess i’m not too interested in the gritty urban experience, I just want to fight Dragons and shit”.

It’s refreshing to hear this meeting of concerns being discussed, as opposed to an attempt to pigeonhole yourself into a sound or genre. There’s so much variation here that it’s almost impossible to compare Baba musically, of course there are reference points but if anything ‘Odd Potion’ is better compared to a unreleased video game soundtrack … perhaps some kind of Dystopian Technoid RPG… Final Fantasy 7 as played by Kraftwerk. Zelda meets Blade Runner, etc etc.

Escapism at it’s best.