There has been a recent trend of electronic DJs and producers recreating their music on stage with a live band. Thankfully, Ott, a UK based Master Engineer/Producer/DJ, is one of them. Ott & the All Seeing I are the result as he is joined by Naked Nick (Vocals, Guitar, Synths, and Percussion), Chris Barker (Bass), and Matt White (Drums). I was privileged to catch two of their sets recently, in particular one on Sunday, October 7th at The Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY.
Unimpressed by the “rave” music found in London clubs, Ott discovered a commonality with artists who shared his love of organic dub and pristine electronics such as The Orb and Dub Syndicate. These artists were not afraid to concoct music with one part heavy bass rhythms, one part spacey soundscape and one part gorgeous melody; shaken not stirred. Ott spent time honing his engineer skills working with such artists as The Orb, Sinead O’Connor, Brian Eno, Steve Hillage, and more recently Simon Posford of Hallucinogen/Shpongle fame. His first release on Simon Posford’s Twisted Records was Hallucinogen-In Dub (2002), where he remixed classic Hallucinogen songs. Since then he has released three of his own, Blumenkraft (2002), Skylon (2008) and Mir (2011)
Having seen Ott a half dozen times or so in the last few years, I have felt a connection to his music ever stirring within me. His music can have an intoxicating effect on me and OH what a beautiful buzz! It is like his music breaks and enters my soul and commands my body to move in ways previously unimaginable. Heading to the Syracuse show I was eager to be a part of the energy he shares with his audience.
Playing to a smaller crowd, the Westcott was less than half full of guests but Ott & the All Seeing I were not to be daunted. Playing through giant speaker stacks that easily withstood Ott’s powerful sound, the band got down to work. Having as much space as I needed, I danced away the set, oblivious to any perceived problems in my life. The show highlights for me included “Splitting An Atom”, “Owl Stretching Time” and of course always a crowd favorite, “The Queen of all Everything”. The live performance gives Ott’s music a raw and powerful energy, full of life.
Traveling with me to this show was Kelly, a precious gems and mineral merchant of Kali’ka Crystals and Creations. Kelly had “gridded” Ott’s stages with crystals at two previous shows, a process in where she places crystals in an array that is meant to help harness energies. Her grid this night included Smoky Quartz for meditation, Amethyst and Selenite for intuition and divinity, Lepidolite for stability and communication, Lemurians (and Pink Lemurians) for love and spiritual awareness, and Herkimer Diamonds for attunement and connection. Post show the band joked about how she should jump on the tour bus with them as they enjoyed her crystal work and company so much.
Any chance I am afforded to see Ott & the All Seeing I again will be taken with utmost seriousness. It is truly a spiritually enlightening experience.
I had the privilege of asking Ott & the All Seeing I a few questions as they broke down post show:
Chris McMullen: Do you have a favorite venue in upstate NY?
Ott: Oh thats hard. It depends who turns up,…it depends who’s there.
Chris: How much time had Ott & the All Seeing I gotten to practice live?
Ott: Not much actually, we were fairly unprepared when we got here.
Naked Nick: It’s just life’s logistics. We did everything we could and we were all practicing individually. Some of us are in the east of England and some of us the west, so the amount of times we can actually come together in one place is quite limited.
Ott: The first time we were able to come together and all play in the same space was our first gig in Baltimore.
Nick: We never all played in the same room together!
Chris: Oh wow, I was at the NYC show at Club 39 and thought you guys sounded pretty good.
Ott: Yeah our sound guy had to totally rewire everything there. Our crew really pulled it out of the bag. I quite enjoyed it in the end.
Chris: It was a tight space.
Ott: I love the hot sweaty basements….that doesn’t sound quite right, does it?
Nick: I think there is going to come a time when I can use that piece of information against you. Not sure yet when it will be.
Chris: Have you found yourselves engaging in any pre or post show rituals?
Ott: I can see patterns forming. Kelly and her crystal garden are the closest thing to a ritual we have. But she’s abandoning us! She has driven miles to see us. We will miss you Kelly.
Nick: It’s really nice to see some familiar faces coming to more than one gig, it’s meant a lot.
Chris: Are there any musicians you’ve been listening to lately?
Ott: I generally don’t listen to anything made after 1982 really, actually no, to be honest, 1978 at the moment.
Nick: Bird Of Prey, Sun Monks
Ott: Nick’s your man. If you want to hear somebody reel of loads of really contemporary artists that no one’s ever heard of. He’s your man. I actually don’t like music very much. I try and avoid it.