Christophe Macquat, Sébastien Bandelier and Marc Theurillat are good lads, most likely. Their names smell of nature and watchmaking, good work and the scent of damp valleys. Together they formed a band called Ølten in 2012. That’s when the smell started to turn: oil, scrap iron, aztranine, the heavy clinking of the shunting yard. They sound a bit like that, plus something else. With guitar, bass and drums, Ølten write the soundtrack to a cold party: the mechanics of rhythm; distortion that wears out your ears like an old axe from the museum of logging; bass lines that make the Red Army Chorus sound feeble; turns, sharper than a long-haul flight dropping like a stone; torn melodies resting on embers… They refer to their own sound as “post rock sludge”. Cult of Luna or Sunn O))) are never far indeed. Ølten take you and knock you out, to your utter delight.
That was the version for the gardening magazines.
Have you ever seen a wild boar pedalling a military bike with a couple of microphones sticking out of its arse? This is the kind of sight that can occasionally be witnessed in the forests of the Watch Valley, where these guys are from. As the distillery blows up, it’s loud as hell, it digs trenches in the road, pulverising dry leaves. This is the kind of image that depicts Ølten the best. They draw a kind of animalistic pleasure out of hitting hard and poking their snouts into the audience’s stomach. The worst part is that it actually works! With titles straight out of the Ikea catalogue (“Mamü”, “Tallülar”, “Ogna”...), Ølten shakes you by the neck (slowly but surely) and shows you which animal hides within the prison of your ribs – bear, ram or duckling. Waking up your instincts, that’s what Ølten do best.
Biography for clubs:
ØLTEN is the rolling of a machine that starts and discovers its own soul. With Sébastien, Christophe and Marc, what is meant by “post rock sludge” initially appears like a workshop where the heavy tools come into play. ØLTEN handle the mallet, move the axes – music from the forge. But between knocks from the pestle, something else develops: grey harmonies and a minor sensitivity, characteristic of those valleys where the sun only ever shows once a month, and only at noon.
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