Opinion Review

OTN: Tabula Rasa

Back in 2009 I asked OTN’s guitarist Ian Wishart how they would describe their sound and he eloquently replied, “If Jamiroquai and Linkin Park had a passionate one-night stand that was unprotected, their baby would be OTN.”

And he isn’t far from the truth. OTN have married many influences in their music and their unique sound can’t really be labelled as it draws from a multitude of genres and appeals to audiences from rock to hip hop to jazz.

Ever since then, I’ve loosely followed the band and about two years ago, I was fortunate enough to get a sneaky listen of the rough cut of what is now titled “Tabula Rasa”.

The 11-track EP reflects everything that the six-piece band stands for in terms of art, politics and relationships. As vocalist and sax player Duane Arthur says, “Drawing from our various influences, we’ve combined aggressive riffs, heart-felt lyrics, and pulse-like rhythms into a melodic journey, the zenith of which is our debut album, our clean slate, our ‘Tabula Rasa’.”

The highlight track is ‘Braille’ which builds melody as it progresses. It’s got the funk, it’s got the slick riffs (Tyrone Mayer) and a killer bass (Andrew Glass) to boot. The next goodie on offer is title track ‘Tabula Rasa’ which is slower-paced yet powerful especially with its smooth drumming (Darren Keogh). ‘The Finer Points of Gravity’ gets a special mention for its catchy vibes from vocalist and emcee (Gez Mbele) and clever use of synths.

Watching OTN grow over the years has left me in awe and I’d highly recommend you get on the bandwagon and give these lads a listen. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Listen to the album on Apple Music.