[sic] Magazine

Oestara / No Trophy – Split

Going back-to-back, talented UK producers Oestara and No Trophy share space on this split to showcase two 30-minute sets for a release that brings together choice cuts from both of their dreamy discographies. Unifying the listen is the pair’s mutual admiration of the likes of Four Tet and Daniel Avery, their ambient IDM and cerebral glitch pulled in ethereal but complimentary directions. And for the label, Ramber Records, it’s a back-to-the-future passion project that reignites their early flirtation with electronic composition (heads up espher and Botpoem & Bugyell fans).

Oestara is Kent-based artist Ali Grimsey (her name taken from a celebration of the pre-Christian mother goddess) and her gently stoned side is the warmer of the offerings via its nebulous blossoming, pretty patterning and pillowy loops, while Matt Whittle’s No Trophy (currently London-based, and also a member of abrasive post-punk band Emperor Zero with whom Ramber have previous) is more at home in the realms of dark ambience.

What follows is an elemental exercise in yin and yang, Oestara pairing otherworldly, chopped and spliced pitch-shifting and skittering beats with Balearic bliss and 2-step precision, while No Trophy explores downtempo bleeps and zero gravity zen, organic pulses rippling the surface of his new age meditation.

Side A highlights include “Kech” (as in Marrakech), the track’s angelic chimes getting pulled from their pedestals by woozy waves of synth-line energy, and “Cellos”, which pits mournful string parts against a crumpled beat that drags its clubfoot right through the middle of some crystalline chill-out. Over on the flip, an undertow of bleary synth-drone drags the tempo low. Windblown whispers, glacial drops and blinking diodes conjure late-night come-downs, the chilly standout “Restbiter” coming on like a ghost in the PA, while the soft “Sullen Paws”, fingers echoing strongly off the pads, hits like the first, sun-dappled rays of morning.

Hazy afternoon sesh through to the streaking lights of the ride home from the afters, Oestara and No Trophy have got you covered.

~The Oestara / No Trophy split is released March 22nd 2024 via Ramber Records.~