PRINT February 1997



In today’s postrave, postalternative, posteverything global music scene, anonymity has become a virtual prerequisite for success. DJs are Spooky and Shadow-like, rappers are Tricky, junglists produce under various monikers. Germany’s OVAL have made all the right obscurantist moves to assure themselves of digital hipness: the hard-to-find CDs, the disposable minimalist chic of their cardboard packaging, the garbled poststructuralist theory. Their recording methods raise familiar issues involving the connections among authorship, ownership, and linearity in the digital age, and their particular version of ambient is assembled largely from processes of a curiously mechanical unpredictability—layered glitches recorded from defaced CDs.

Despite such avant-garde methods, it was the skill with which Oval used a rather traditional tactic—melody versus noise—on their first release Systemisch (Thrill

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