Described as a ‘musical experiment’, The Omega Project 3 (or OP3) is a bit of a departure for us here at RCM. Great new music, however, is not genre specific, and we are always keen to expand musical horizons.
Based in Greece, the instrumental outfit takes inspiration from modern classical, jazz, electronic and folk music, and combine these varied influences to create their unique sound. Their latest release, Hope, is a concept album written by Dimitris Mitropapas, and is 10 tracks that are instrumentally sparse, atmospheric, ominous and full of suspense.
According to OP3, Hope follows the story of Melanie, a girl who wakes up in a strange room in a futuristic city. She doesn’t know why she is there, and follows clues that lead her to discover her past, as well as ways to escape.
The piano is the driving instrument throughout the album, accompanied mostly by cello and violin. However, a wide range of instruments feature, including organ, electronic drums and scratchy loops, homemade instruments, and ambient sounds that seem to reveal themselves on repeat listens.
The album is best listened to in full, like one long song, rather than the individual parts, allowing the story to make sense. The suspense builds from the beginning, peaking at track six ‘Absential Existence’, a song that features manic piano and a discordant wavering organ. The whispered spoken word is the first and last time a voice is heard on the album, and is particularly creepy when listening through headphones.
From this point on the album starts to become more layered, with more instruments being introduced. Scratchy drum loops, synth choir sounds, and ambient noise brings a change to the album, providing a sense of resolution. ‘The Shift’ brings a sense of hope, of open space, and by the time we reach the appropriately titled album closer ‘Where the End Begins’, there is a sense of closure to the story…almost. If Melanie is the album’s character, then perhaps we should be a little worried about her future prospects.
The beauty and the darkness of Hope makes it an ideal accompaniment to the opening credits of a film, perhaps wide panning shots of a bleak countryside, giving the sense that something dark and sinister is brewing. It is an album that can be thoroughly enjoyed as background music, however it reveals so much more to the listener when it is the sole focus, especially when listening through headphones.
One of the best things about music in general is its ability to perfectly soundtrack almost any situation in life, provided you can think of the right song or album at the time. Hope is a great album to have in your musical repertoire, for you will have the perfect music to play as you walk pass the burnt out shells of cars in a post-apocalyptic streetscape.