Ossia – Red X
It’s been 5 years since I first met Dan ‘Ossia’ Davies. It was on the way to interview him for one of the first articles on Tape-Echo, an in-depth look at his night Peng Sound, that had started a few months previous in a small basement, a couple of doors down the road. Ever since that meeting the Peng Sound and Tape-Echo have been linked, a shared love of DIY aesthetics and true underground music has led us to collaborate on more projects and all nighter record packing sessions than I can remember. In-between running nights, releasing records and generally having many fingers in many pies, he has been quietly working away on his own music, as the piles of empty boxes from distros grow in the office so has the sprawl of gear in his studio. An old Russian amp, a Copicat delay with a selection of crusty tapes, each with their own fantastic packaging, the Casio MT-40, the iconic Roland Space Echo and a small galaxy of pedals, with appropriately tangled cables. While the Casio may have spawned the vicious ’Sleng Again’, the mutant sleng teng version that kicked off the Fuck Punk label he runs with fellow Young Echo member Vessel, it was the inclusion of a mixing desk that really propelled the Ossia sound into it’s own, gelling his selection of hardware together and, finally rendering Logic as little more than a tape recorder, allowing him to get suitably hands on with the manipulation of sonics, coaxing them through elaborate chains of delay before plunging them into washes of vintage reverb. Taking in his huge range of influences and, frankly, annoyingly good record collection which spans the dankest of noise shrouded techno to acetate cuts of anarchist punk recorded in squalid bedrooms - the binding thread in all these is the dedication to DIY and dubplate culture, simply put - only Ossia could have made this deceivingly complex music and what better place for it than on the mighty Blackest Ever Black - Skip back to the grey skies of last winter and that is where ‘Red X’ was born - a 9 minute dread filled pilgrimage, thumping along to the fearsome parlance of the late Peter Tosh - ‘The dirt, the filth, and corruption…’ The Red X tapes were the personal diaries of the vocalist that chronicle his innermost thoughts on fear and babylon rule and his intense paranoia that any official government documents bearing his name were marked with a red X. ‘Ice & Blood’ on the B1 reveals more of Tosh’s recorded monolog and bends metallic sonics through elaborate signal chains, stripping the track down to a few base elements - intricate percussion and that all important sublow. ‘Blood & Ice (Version)’ closes the record, floating out into an ocean of dub atmospherics - pressurised static coaxed from the grooves of the acetate original are parsed into the most beautifully deceptive pieces of dub-influenced music to come from the BEB camp. Sitting alongside Vatican Shadow’s noise infused techno assaults just as comfortably as the shoe gaze melancholia of Tarcar - it all makes perfect sense… A massive shout goes out to BEB for making this ridiculously complicated package possible - following a period of intense collaboration between BEB, Ossia and Studio Tape-Echo, the original Tosh quote was subject to repeated photocopying and redaction before being printed in Germany, shipped back to Bristol where the sleeve was over printed by Josh Hughes-Games and packaged up again before being sent to London and distributed worldwide…a labour of love and which we are honoured to share with you. Big up Dan Ossia - Here’s to another five years of late nights, hand stamping and pizza slices.