As has been the case with so many other bands, it was Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic that first brought Chicago's ONO to the attention of Disaster Amnesiac. While ostensibly falling outside of the scope of that absolutely essential tome, ONO was mentioned therein, albeit briefly, along with having been given a page or two in the appendix. Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled to finally hear them in the late 2000's, when downloadable versions of their early LP's began to appear at various blog sites. I can recall one rain-drenched walk from a birthday party at Fisherman's Wharf to Embarcadero BART station, with Machines That Kill People providing a particularly unsettling soundtrack on my headphones, singer travis' deep tenor voiced incantations providing a surreal verbal soundtrack to said shuffled drenching.
Skipping forward three or so years, Disaster Amnesiac is pleased to be able to listen to all new recordings from ONO, in the form of Albino. Pleased, because the re-upped ONO essentially continues on with the same sound that they developed and honed all those years ago; a sound that draws from elements as ancient as shamanism or as current as post-Gangsta Rap (listen to travis to the album's ending track for that particular vibe), as earthy as Delta Blues or as Industrial as Neubauten post-Motorik beats. Head ONO musician P. Michael Ono seems to be able to amalgamate just about any stream of music, pushing out a heavy, heady, personal music, one of deliciously synergistic energy and flavor as regards influences. Disaster Amnesiac finds himself particularly moved by the greasy electric guitar intro to the album's title track and the brilliantly programmed beats and percussion throughout. The way Ono paced the music, never too fast, always throbbing and sensual, makes for an arresting, compelling listen. While not exactly Dance Music per se, Albino can no doubt inspire one to any type of movement. It is truly Body Music.The front body and human voice of the band, travis, croons his rich spells with such powerful phrasing and gesture. Do be sure and read Roctober #50 for a great interview with him. The man has lived, and his performance on Albino gives ample proof of that fact. He enriches and gives new depth even to Nico on All Tomorrow's Parties, giving this listener new food for thought on that chestnut of the Underground.
Disaster Amnesiac has read the Moniker has recorded more ONO since the tunes on Albino were tracked. I look forward to hearing more of their auditory spell workings. Here's to hoping that they can bring their ministrations out West.