Repetition is such a powerful tool. Through repetition, you can hypnotise someone, or wake them. Through repetition, you can numb the senses, or heighten them. Through repetition, you can create anxieties, or relieve them. Through repetition, you can express your deepest thoughts and desires, or bury them. Through repetition, you can say everything, or say nothing at all. It’s a bit ironic that repetition can be so diverse.
Okzharp and Manthe Ribane’s Closer Apart is a masterclass in repetition as an artistic tool. Not only have I listened to it on repeat (it’s kinda the job), but every song folds in on itself and creates a time-travelling wormhole worth exploring over and over again. It’s a beautiful exploration of loops and lyrics that find new meaning each time they’re repeated.
“Are you ready for the truth? Even if it hurts you?” Ribane repeatedly asks on ‘Make U Blue’, the second track of the album. She wants to confess, but she knows it will crush the priest in this particular booth. “Only the truth can hurt you.” It’s haunting in its simplicity and cuts deep, whilst also offering comfort. A common theme on the album.
Plenty of snares and hi-hats punctuate Okzharp’s productions, but this isn’t Okzharp from LV fame. This a much calmer offering, with less focus on making you dance and more on creating a story with Manthe. ‘Zagga’ feels like it could have been a big trap track if they cranked it up but instead it feels unsettling, with lyrics that mimic and mock trap cliches.
Closer Apart at times feels like it could be a soundtrack to a sci-fi space thriller. Especially songs like ‘Time Machine’ which has vocals that sound a bit like Hal-9000 meets autotune Kanye, and the closing track, ‘Treasure Erasure’, gave me flashbacks to running away from corporate cops across rooftops in the dystopian future of Mirror’s Edge.
There’s so much going on with this album that it requires multiple listens to fully appreciate. It’s remarkably deep and rich with carefully crafted layers of repetition. Give it a listen. And then do it again. And again…