Onomatopoeia is an experimental sound artist from Richmond, VA performing a unique blend of dreamy sun-kissed nature pop with experimental electronics. Onomatopoeia recently released his debut EP Mountain Air.
Much of Mountain Air takes from Onomatopoeia’s usage of field recordings from the Blue Ridge Mountain mixed in with folk guitar and electronic sounds. If I were to chalk up Onomatopoeia’s sound I would say it’s a mix between Animal Collective and Radical Face. Mountain Air uses overlaying echoed and delayed vocal tracks weaved into synth-based sounds, simulating a sense of atmosphere and ambience. Pair that with the field recordings and folk guitar and you get a journey of a first EP.
Each track on the album beautifully blends three key elements of electronic, folk, and sampling in its own way. No track sounds the same but each bares a similar theme of what Mountain Air represents, which you can read about in the description of the album on Onomatopoeia’s Bandcamp. With that said, I will focus on two tracks I thought stood out while listening through the album.
The second track of the album “(shenandoah national park),” blends the vocal overlays with accented folk guitar and drumbeats. "(shenandoah national park)" starts off strong with vocal tracks “ooh” and “ahhing” with bird chirping sampling intertwined, in the background guitar and drumbeats accent the downbeat. This pattern continues throughout the song as Onomatopoeia incorporates different vocals of children playing and screaming teeming in and out. Towards the 2:13 mark of the song, more synth based sounds take over along with a drowned-out sampling of a voice talking. This continues until the 3:34 mark. After the mark, the song returns to “normal” fading out to static with voices trapped inside. I particularly enjoyed this track because I think it perfectly captured the blend of Animal Collective and Radical Face while maintaining its own style.
The fourth track of the album “over the garden wall” pays homage to the coveted animated series released by Cartoon Network in 2013. The track starts off with an oscillating synth based notes giving the feeling of rainfall. Over the garden wall takes its listeners to another dimension. With random bleeps and bloops and other robotic noises teeming in between the oscillating rain, the track reaches into primordial depths. Since the song is only a minute and fifty-four seconds long, it almost acts as an interlude to the next track. I particularly enjoyed this track because I felt that I had been transported to another dimension. It draws a lot on the sense of mystery, exploration, and maybe even dread.
On Bandcamp, Onomatopoeia notes that he “wanted to make music that felt had real artistic merit [something] that challenged ideas and methods for songwriting.”