OTTO is Alexander Arpeggio—who runs the labels Mond Musik and Eine Welt—and Cid Hohner—who compiled the “Heilige 3 Könige” album on Mond Musik and produces other projects such as C.Z. The two are also behind the project Aufgang B.
In 2016 the now infamous project OTTO released its debut 12‘‘ EP straight out of Nowhere, Germany, called “Greatest Hits” (Charlois). The music was fresh, but with a good dose of old-school organ disco references, and so was the cover artwork which caused quite a sensation. OTTO in super bold, hand-drawn letters above a cheesy photograph of the two artists sitting around a massive home organ decorated with flowers. The record sold out fast and henceforth traded for galactic prices. The music was recorded in Cid Hohner’s home studio using only a handful of outdated, under-appreciated electronics (most remarkably an early ’80s Yamaha home organ—with its built-in preset beats and even the auto-arpeggio lines). That and its specific musical inflections are reason enough to explain the record’s uniquely dusty yet fresh sound. Still one could also point out the German storytelling vocals on “Samstag Nacht,” an acid take on “Popkorn-küche” and the soundtrack-like feel throughout the record.
In 2017, when they finally decided to play their stuff live even if they had to carry their organs, they dropped their second EP, “Full Auto.” This time they appear on the cover in a German kleingarten anti-idyll under a totally grey sky. The music is a bit darker here too, and a 1960s drum machine gets mixed up-front. Heavy basslines and Egyptian Scales are part of two of the tracks, while “Stärkere Delirien” (obviously a sequel to the previous “Delirieren” track off of the “Greatest Hits” record) is a weird, effect-loaded dubby drum track with even weirder vocals by Cid Hohner again. This time they decided to take the risk of self-releasing the record with a pencil-drawn design on the sleeve and even managed to repress.
With that release in their hands they toured all over Europe, playing live in dirty bars, at countless weddings and on proper stages. What could be said so far to sum things up: they work shit keeping it different.
Now, in mid-2018, they finally released their third EP, on Orgaton, the society for the promotion of organ music. One might think of some library references, but they take it further than that: three signature OTTO-style bangers and a ballad make for a veritable soundtrack once again. They don’t miss the chance to push the weird German vocals even further with an abstract, repetitive “Rhythmus-Räp.” And you don’t want to miss the full color artwork.
Labels : Orgaton / Charlois