A little mystery goes a long way. San Francisco-based "witch house" outfit oOoOO proves as much. Practically unGooglable and even more difficult to pronounce, the unusual moniker serves as a shroud that allows the player behind oOoOO (Christopher Dexter Greenspan) to remain in the shadows, letting his electrogoth music and premium remixing skills speak for themselves. Whether oOoOO is pronounced like the Ohhh you release after making a Eureka-sized discovery or more like the Ooooo of a ghost wailing through a drafty English manor, the point of the matter isn't how you verbalize it or what you know about the man behind the curtain, but that you open your ears and surrender yourself to being haunted.
In the vein of Fever Ray and SALEM, oOoOO provides the score to the dance party (albeit it a drowsy one) that precedes the inevitable horror movie, the musical moments right before the undead punch their way out of their moldy coffins or the homicidal murderer arrives in search of fresh skin for a new body suit. But it's not all doom and gloom. The bone-chilling side of oOoOO is, more often than not, balanced by an infusion of pop sensibility. This candied terror can be found all over tracks like "Pckrfcrmx," a bastardized, shredded revamp of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," and "I Live for the Day," a cover of a Lindsay Lohan song (!) that quite astonishingly transforms the limp original into something pleasurable, from water to wine.
And those gems didn't even make it onto oOoOO's self-titled debut EP, which ups the bar even higher with more eerie ear worms. "Mumbai" kicks things off with not so much an international vibe, but otherworldly: music from another planet, sent to Earth in a capsule à la the Voyager Golden Record. A warbling voice comes in and out of tune, whispering "Nothing is wrong" despite the post-apocalyptic aural surroundings. Somewhere across the barren wasteland, the same female voice sweetly croons "I want to stay just like this" to the slow groove of "Burnout Eyes."
With its slowed-down melody, "Sedsumting" makes the listener feel like he has just chewed a fist of sedatives and then gone out dancing, lost in a haze of sluggish beats that thump to the tick tock of a melting clock. After wading through the cloudy atmosphere of that lethargic reverie, a clap at the beginning of "Hearts" wakes everything back up. Ephemeral, barely decipherable vocals glide over a "ch, ch, ch, ha, ha" sample that sounds like it was ripped directly from the Friday the 13th theme song. And, last but not least, "Plains Is Hot" wraps things up with a vaguely Italodisco influence, a tune Argento would put in one of his movies in a second.
What oOoOO has accomplished here with this cinematic, intricate, surprising, and delicately frightening music is carving out a new soundscape, which is nearly impossible to achieve in this age of "everything's already been done." Snatching body parts from weak pop songs, from outer space, and from zombie and slasher flicks, oOoOO sews each severed limb together to animate a deranged, drooling monster never before seen. And scary as this new beast might be, you can't help but take a closer look.
oOoOO's scary good EP is available through Tri Angle Records on October 4th.