A musing on the music of Oliver Riot
An underrated band
Released in November of 2015, Oliver Riot’s five song EP Hallucinate is everything ethereal.
With a band composed of identical twin brothers, both multi-instrumentalists, Alexander and Benjamin Moore are phenomenal.
The brothers lived in Peru for the first five years of their childhood before moving to New Mexico, where they started playing Django Reinhardt-influenced Gypsy Jazz in coffee shops, breweries, and numerous street corners in Albuquerque.
According to Wikipedia, “The album was produced in its entirety by Real Miilk in the back room of a Korean Church. Alex lived in his van parked outside of the church while creating the record, and both brothers continued to do so while recording the duo’s next album.”
Their success led them to L.A., where they received first place at the Grammys L.A. Talent Showcase. With many other first place awards, the dynamic duo is far from finished.
What strikes people the most about the band is that they are relatively obscure. How does a band with so much talent not instantaneously receive their due? Nevertheless, we can collectively expect to see this band rise to the top in the next year or two. Why? Because, while they are certainly talented, they also share a manager with Billie Eilish, FINNEAS and a number of other great artists: Danny Rukasin.
Who? Danny Rukasin.
“Ben and Alex blend ethereal tropes and soothing melodies, along with unique conceptual expression about certain moments in our human condition and understanding of the world – all which has inspired fans all over the world in a way you don’t see often with other artists – and it’s beautiful,” he said.
The EP’s first song is called “We Popped the Moon.” It focuses on a regretful relapse into some past pattern. While the song mentions “I” and “you,” perhaps it’s talking about the divide between mind and body. That feeling of losing control when the mind goes to the right, but the body shuffles left. This separation of oneself seems to be supported by the line, “Oh I’ve cracked, oh I.” It is a slow division of one into two.
Personally, my two favourite songs are “Ivory Black” and “Alcatraz.” Both are like sifting through the black sands of hell in search of something lost. The whole EP is some existential exploration. The songs are all connected by the duo’s life experiences.
When I searched, “what is ivory black?” I found out that it’s a pigment made from ivory or bone usually used in drawing or painting.
And now we know why the first line of the song says, “Crumple my bones, weave like the road.” With the name of the song being “Ivory Black,” the artists are emphasizing that the song derives from their very own bones.
According to the Moore Brothers, “Ivory Black” represents, “the confusion that comes from the increasingly deafening silence cabin fever has on the mind as it becomes more and more lost.”
In describing their music video for “Ivory Black,” they said, “From one moment to the next the character [in the video] neurotically shouts at her demons, then laughs with them in sombering surrender, attempting to hold on to a thin line between mania and reality,” a feeling they claim, “we’re both very familiar with.”
This is a truly beautiful madness.
They additionally commented, “The mirage serves as a reflection of our own daily process – tangibly safe within the walls of a ‘literal home,’ while simultaneously wading in and out of delusion, lost in other realities.”
While the lyrics passionately describe the mixed sensations of suffering and insanity, the artists together delve depths unfathomable in the explication of their own human consciousness. The twins clearly hold a special love of words and emotions. Their lyrics are sharp and poetic and the feelings presented are an immersive experience worth the listen.
Songs within this EP overlap in their sound and lyrics like an intricately woven tapestry all meant for the same purpose of exposing a twilight from within. Shared themes of melancholy, emotion, and self-rejection make this EP feel like one “hallucination.”
From another perspective, the EP looks like one big love song to the self. A reflection and realization of who the artists are as human beings. It celebrates the beauty in feeling low.
Oliver Riot shares momentary experiences in such a unique light, “I wanna be loud like white wine after a glass, warm like the sunshine kissing my back.” It’s hard to believe they only have a Youtube following of 4.25k. Check out their EP and their new music and you will not be disappointed