The Snow Burial
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Oddo Bam: The Snow Burial

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I am constantly amazed by the hidden gems of South African music. Although increasingly less hidden and deservedly so, Oddo Bam’s first EP, the Snow Burial, is my favourite recent discovery. I happened to press play on a day when I was feeling quite frazzled, and after leaving it on repeat for a while, found myself feeling quite calm.

The Snow Burial is an intimate record. There is a moment in music where the combination of lyricism and instrumentation is both artful and resonant with real life experience. Bam’s poetry in combination with the use of the violin and vibrant, varied acoustic guitar contributes to the achievement of this quality in Bam’s first creation. Subtle percussion slides in and out of the tracks alongside gentle harmonica. It is a beautiful, folksy fusion of sounds that leaves you both contemplative and soothed.

My only criticism of the album would be that the vocal harmonies seem to reach an unintentional dissonance at certain points. However, it may be argued that this only adds to the intimacy of the record, and it is this quality that makes each song on The Snow Burial so beautifully endearing.

Oddo describes himself as a poet at heart, and this is evident in each of his deeply personal songs. His sound is definitely emotive. Europe is perhaps my favourite track on the four track EP, the repetition of “I understand you have to go. I understand you have to go, but let me know you’re not leaving here forever.” in the chorus is perhaps the high point of feeling.  Bam’s tender vocal in combination with soprano harmonies by a second vocalist creates a rich, full sound that is a pleasure to listen to. The first song on the EP, Omer, features a wordless vocal and serves as a welcome to the world that Oddo Bam creates through his songwriting. It is difficult not to be taken in by its melancholy warmth.

Although a folk record at heart, there are distinct elements of blues in the guitar work and vocals, particularly in the song, Avalanche. The final track on the Snow Burial EP, See-Through, is reminiscent of both Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith. The refined nature of each of the songs on the EP points to Bam’s formal musical training without losing touch with the range of emotion that his sound offers.

The Snow Burial is a sincere record with a beautiful depth to it. Bam describes his passion for music as one that cannot be quenched. He performs live regularly and promises that he will continue to write songs as his life unfolds. It is safe to say that I will be listening.



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