Thursday, December 30, 2010

O is for...

A surprising number of very good Os...

- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
- Mary Margaret O'Hara
- Mike Oldfield
- The Orb
- Orbital
- Oval
- Ose
- 1000 Mexicans
- Hans Otte
- O Yuki Conjugate

The first three or four OMD albums were great, the next three OK and then everything went downhill. For Architecture & Morality alone they'd be up there. Mary Margaret O'Hara's one-hit-wonder, Miss America, is similarly worth a top ten slot. Her concert at the Dominion in London in 1989 (I think) was one of the best gigs I ever saw. And I loved 1000 Mexicans: several sublime singles, one album and some great gigs, all mid-80s. I championed them a bit in Sounds but despite/because of this they split soon after.

Always had a bit of a soft spot for Mike Oldfield, especially Ommadawn and Incantations and remember seeing him at Wembley Arena while I was still at school. Rubbish last three decades though. Anything released on Egg and featuring Richard Pinhas was bound to be good and Ose's Adonia ('78) scored on both counts.

The Orb and Orbital both qualify. To be honest I got a bit bored of them after a while but the early stuff was genuinely innovative. Oval took electronica into glitch territory - their Diskont album was excellent. And finally, respect to German composer/pianist Hans Otte (who died in 2007) - his Book of Sounds is pretty essential - and O Yuki Conjugate who recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Happy birthday Andrew.

Also-rans: Patrick O'Hearn, Seigen Ono, Operating Theatre, The Orchestra, Orchestra Arcana (Bill Nelson), Jim O'Rourke, Opik, Opus III (if only for their cover of Jane & Barton's It's a Fine Day), Erlend Oye, Vidna Obmana, The Oracle (Wire spin-off), Pauline Oliveros, One Dove, On-U Sound, The Only Ones (if only for the fabulous Another Girl Another Planet), William Orbit, Orange Juice, Orang (ex-Talk Talk), Ozric Tentacles, Opitope... but no room for Oasis or Sinead O'Connor.


  1. Blimey, yes. Forgot about her. For some inexplicable reason, my nickname at primary school was Yoko. I met her once in Saitama, at the opening of the JL museum there. She was charming, very small and looked 25 years younger than she is.

  2. A few of my favourite "O's" seem to be one offs (at least so far). Putney's finest - Our Sleepless Forest. Opitope's "Hau". The second album by Opto. Then there is Orchestra Baobab from Senegal - "Pirate's Choice" is a classic. And I go have a soft spot for those early Oldfield albums.