Black Onassis has announced that it will release their debut album, Desensitized, on September 23rd. A track from the album entitled “Brain” was just released via the band’s SoundCloud. A music video for the song, directed by Ghost+Cow Films, premiered on MTV UK. The group has had a busy year thus far, writing new music and performing a slew of shows.
Black Onassis combines components of electronic and rock into their music. Listeners of both types will find familiar traits in most of their songs. The electronic element lends ambient and symphonic melodies to the music. Other times, there are aggressive beats and sonic poetry. The rock elements become particularly clear on their instrumental tracks. These portions at times feel like a throwback to times in rock music when instrumental jams became front and center on songs. Black Onassis founder Chris Karloff, formerly of Kasabian, plays lead guitar, synth and keys. While Black Onassis have been known to switch-up their lineup, musician Nick Forde has also been with the group for quite some time, providing bass and keyboard.
The band is known for their prominent visual components. When they play live shows, visuals are projected by Ghost+Cow Films. The combination of sound and sight allows for a genre-bending, cross-sensory experience, extending into the “Brain” music video. Here, viewers see a man who looks like a patient or test subject in some kind of experiment. He is confined to a room, under heavy video surveillance, and administered pills and injections regularly. At one point in the video, a device is strapped around his eyes. What follows next is a visual sequences of colors, light, a brain, numbers and subliminal messages in green font, not dissimilar to visual sequences projected at a Black Onassis concert while the band plays.
While Desensitized comes out this September, listeners need not wait to imagine what the album may have in store. Black Onassis do not have a lead singer, so each track that isn’t purely instrumental features a different vocalist. The vocals for “Brain” are provided by Ben Gautrey of The Cooper Temple Clause. M83‘s Morgan Kibby also makes a guest appearance on a song that may be on the album. Regardless, changing up who sings what song and what tracks remain instrumental differentiates each tune. The variety of vocalists on each song gives the sense of being a world within a world or a piece of a bigger picture. This ensures that Black Onassis never provides a passive entertainment experience. Instead, audiences may find themselves particularly compelled to tune in and remain engaged. Different voices bring into focus specific elements of the lyrics relative to each tune. How this will affect listening to the album as a whole will become clear soon. In the case of “Brain,” that element is “Breaking away from the chains that hold you.” The lyrics guide the listener through a story, just as the instrumentals and visuals tell a story when there is no narrator. There is some underlying conflict, resolved later in the song with the words, “Follow your heart and your hopes will come true.”
Take advantage of a free download of “Brain” below, and stay tuned for Desensitized this September and more on Black Onassis.