Ovro & Niko Skorpio - Live in Placard #7 (SPE04032)

Ovro & Niko Skorpio : Live in Placard #7 CD

Live in Placard #7 is a split live album by Ovro and Niko Skorpio. It was recorded live in Placard #7 Headphone Festival in Helsinki, Finland on May 22, 2004. Ovro and Skorpio built their live sets to transfer seamlessly from one to another, with a collaborative “bridge” inbetween.

Ovro starts quietly and calmly, gradually raising volume and tension. Her brand of uneasy listening combines digital sound manipulation, creepy soundscapes and ominous vocals to invoke a multitude of feelings and a view to a world where not everything is right.

The artists change on the fly, and their sets are welded seamlessly together by an improvised piece performed together as SkorpiOvro (later known as Hæretici 7o74).

Niko Skorpio presents his mix of dark ambience, sample-ridden psychedelia and heavy broken rhythms in a dynamic, morphing form. Towards the end Niko invokes his twisted digital-grindcore alter ego Reptiljan that vomits a short, fierce attack of blastbeats and breaks & noise. Reptiljan provided the sounds for what was perhaps the first ever incident of stage-diving in the history of Placard!

Placard is a new kind of festival where people come with their headphones to sit down and actually listen to the music. The venues also provide live audio streams to other listening rooms (“placards”) out there. Placard #7 was a three-month, non-stop, self-organising festival of headphones listening taking place across the globe and streamed online. The particular event where this recording was captured, was held in an apartment in Helsinki, with listening slots in France, Belgium and Italy.

CD, edition of 500 copies, hand-numbered.

Ovro & Niko Skorpio -Live in Placard #7 (SPE04032)


”The album contains the solo and combined contributions of Ovro & Niko Skorpio to the Placard Festival. These festivals are only made available on headphones, either by MP3 or live streams over the Internet, to locations either nearby or remote. On this occasion the performance took place in a Helsinki apartment, convenient for the Finnish artists, with listening slots (the “placards”) set up in France, Belgium and Italy. Therefore the conditions of its original performance are entirely replicable at home. 

Headphone listening greatly heightens awareness of stereo. This is exploited throughout, pre-eminently by using stereo panning with a vigour and agandon rarely heard since the technique’s adoption by the mass market. Likewise, radical separation in each channel is often made apparent by rapid on-off sequences. 

Ovro’s half develops with more convincing aesthetic with these tools. “Pre-Concrete Echoes”, for example, mixes muted thumps and echoes together with helter skelters of purely electronic and purely synthetic sound. It is like listening to the infrastructure of a building, with wires, pipes, walls and joists conspiratorially crepitating to each other. Over this, Ovro whispers barbed threats in a little girl’s voice. It is a piece born to live in the intimacy of the headphones, never taking the listener beyond the space between their ears. 

Niko Skorpio’s pieces are both more musical and more robust. The collapsing building sounds on “Oskorei”, or the Eastern wind riff on “Liminal Cows”, or the recognisable guitar and percussion sounds throughout, take our minds to the source of their creation. The standout track, however, brings both artists together on “Dreams Which Burn”, a telling title for a piece where Ovro’s paranoid and unresolved soundscapes are buffeted by Niko’s sonically fiercer leanings to produce a distubingly scorched nightmare.” (The Wire)

“(…)Like I wrote before there are similarities between the sound of Ovro and AGF in a way that both deal with vocals, or maybe rather spoken words. Poetic electronic music. It’s hard to decipher what these poems are about, but hearing the somewhat darker undercurrents in her music I bet it’s not a happy worldview. The musical setting is mostly on the quieter side of electronics. After her live recording follows an improvised piece with Niko Skorpio, which combines the best of both worlds, but less the vocals. 

Niko Skorpio is an established artist on the Some Place Else label, and he uses sampling to a great 
extend with noise elements and slow rhythms. When Skorpio puts his Reptiljan cap on, things 
turn grim with a bunch of laptop grindcore. Two examples are enclosed here too. It makes the entire disc into a well-done, well varied bunch of electronic music by two of the more promising artists from Finland.” (Vital Weekly)

“The recording heads off rather calm with Ovro’s material, featuring dark minimal low key sounds and noises with on top of it a narrative female voice reciting in a slightly childish fairy-tale way. 
The music slowly gets more robust during this album. Electronic, psychedelic and mysterious sampled noises form the main core of the music. 
It’s like Alice in Wonderland is communicating with aliens that speak in dark crackles and strange hiss. It’s not often one comes across such music, implying the originality of it of course. 
But the album offers much more, being the output by Niko Skorpio. An unrecognizable voice on top of digital distorted sound bits, creating creepy soundscapes and ominous atmospheres. The last couple of tracks can even be considered feeback noise, reminding of artists such as The Haters or noise without any sign of structure. This is more the territory of one of the other projects called Reptiljan.” (Phosphor Magazine)

“Here’s a lengthy live disc from these two Finnish experimental artists, recorded live at Placard #7 in Helsinki, Finland on May 22, 2004. Ovro beings with eight tracks of her unique ambient stylings, using lots of faint low-end hums, shuffling midrange, occasional glitchy distortion (very light and very rare), and plenty of manipulated spoken vocal work. Oftentimes the vocals have an eerie yet childlike quality going on, and I’ve not been that fond of such in Ovro’s work in the past, but while still a bit of a bother it somehow comes across more abstractly in this live setting. The faint narration in “Bonfire of Stories” sounds nice against the gurgling low-end textures to create an ominous atmosphere, leading into the murky depths of the also nice “Equate”. As a whole Ovro’s set flows surprisingly well from start to finish, covering around 27 minutes. Following is “Dreams Which Burn”: A 7+ minute collaboration between Ovro and Niko Scorpio, using minimal layering and lots of motion that’s a bit more strangely melodic than Ovro’s solo material, while slightly more subdued and stripped down than Niko Scorpio’s set. It’s definitely a sinister piece (notably the latter moments, which are excellent), and the pacing is very well considered to keep things interesting. Hitting right around 23 minutes, Niko Scorpio’s eight-song set closes the disc, opening with a similar approach to Ovro’s unusual dark ambient and glitchy electronic sounds before becoming more musical and diverse, ranging from ultra minimal drones and hums to the sampled musical arrangements and percussion (from Slayer to Middle Eastern melodies) in the stuttered and almost chaotic “Liminal Cows”. Ominous programmed beats continue in the more tangible and musical “Limbo Cut”, while towards the close of the set Niko performs a few songs by his Reptiljan project, “All Songs Must Die” and “Zero Ego”. These two pieces are harsher and more chaotic, sort of like Niko Scorpio sped up and muddily distorted (not in a bad way). So this is certainly the more active set of the evening. For being live the sound is about what you would expect for the better side of things. It’s nice and thick with enough clarity and depth to suffice, while being a little muddier and less crisply detailed than studio work from the two artists would likely be. That’s not a complaint, either. I think it sounds very nice and consistent. The layout keeps it minimal with a very nice photograph on the cover and some odd little imagery elsewhere, with some tiny live shots on the back cover with the tracklist. The traycard is also hand-numbered out of 500 copies. I like this. It’s not totally my thing as I am quite picky about these things, but despite being a little long for me, the work is curious and comes across well in this documentation. Good work.” (Aversionline)

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