Off World presents the final album in its trilogy of surreal and spacious leftfield electronics.
"A stellar project headed by Sandro Perri, one of the most singular producers in contemporary music" (Boomkat), this third volume is another distinctive collection of tracks constructed from semi-improvised ensemble recordings made over the past decade with a varied cast of co-conspirators. Drew Brown, Matthew Cooper, Susumu Mukai and Andrew Zukerman join Perri again on a variety of synths and machines, along with violinist Jesse Zubot (Tanya Tagaq, Fond Of Tigers). Perri also continues to add organ and piano to the mix, while Volume 3 notably features first-time Off World contributors Nicole Rampersaud on trumpet and Martin Arnold on guitar, both mainstays of Toronto's vibrant improv and out-music scenes. The Quietus calls Off World "genuinely explorative…the musical equivalent of a Dali-esque landscape" which through all sorts of genre-defying twists and turns, at times evokes "off-kilter, late Miles Davis ambience". Off World 3 doubles down on that jazz-adjacent trope in certain respects, while holding fast to Pitchfork's dictum that Perri "cultivates his own genreless brand of futurism." Marked by longer tracks than previous collections, three of the album's five songs clock in around the 10-minute mark, where overtly improvised instrumental playing wends its way across alternately bubbling and woozy electronic beds. "Impulse Controller" is a languidly skewed rhumba where ambling melodic undercurrents and dubby electronic pointillism provide a dulcet promenade for Rampersaud's Miles-esque trumpet excursions. "Ludic Loop" see-saws along in a slow synthy two-step, punctuated by Perri's restrained piano chords and Arnold's fried electric guitar. "Empasse" is perhaps most reminiscent of earlier Off World collections, though again slowed and stretched, with oozing synth bass ostinatos counterposed by ambient layers of viola and violin filigree from Zubot. These three centerpiece longform tracks each highlight one of the album's instrumental improvisers, and taken together, make for the most scintillating sedate and ruminant album in the trilogy. Off World 3 sounds as sui generis as ever, but in wrapping up the series, Perri sprinkles the project's emblematic alien surrealism with decidedly anthropic elements and temporalities. This final volume in the trilogy could also be seen as a re-statement of the politico-aesthetic mission that Pitchfork aptly celebrates in its glowing reviews of Perri's two most recent solo albums, In Another Life (2018) and Soft Landing (2019), that were released between Off World 2 and the present volume: a uniquely purposeful, subtly detailed cannon of songs "busy, vibrant, and bursting with life, but that aren't ever in a rush to get anywhere". Thanks for listening.