Octo Octa’s ‘Resonant Body’ captures the blissful sensations of the dancefloor
Review: The DJ/producer’s new album goes hard for the dancefloor, but soothes the soul in the process.
Label: T4T LUV NRG
Back in July, as the sun started to dip on the final evening at Germany’s Melt Festival, I arrived at the site to find a noticeably tired crowd and a jaded atmosphere. But then came Octo Octa with her blend of euphoric house and breaks. Her positive energy radiated from the DJ booth as she danced with abandon, and it didn’t take long for the dancefloor to burst back into life.
Octo Octa’s show is kinetic, feel good, cathartic. “Move your body to the sound”, goes a vocal loop on the second track of her new album, Resonant Body. Octo Octa wants you to connect with her music on a physical and spiritual level. And when the music’s this welcoming, it encourages you to tune into her elevated frame of mind.
With a discography that acts as an intensely personal memoir, Octo Octa, real name Maya Bouldry-Morrison, is no stranger to baring her soul through her music. But where her last two albums, her 2013 debut Between Two Selves and 2017’s Where Are We Going?, provided an outlet for healing during the period of her transition, Resonant Body arguably marks Octo Octa’s most joyful and dancefloor-focused output to date.
Recorded in December 2018 after a hectic year of touring, there’s no doubt that Octo Octa’s DJing (her Resident Advisor profile currently counts upwards of 60 shows in 2019) has had an impact on her sound. “Club bangers, here we go!” she said in a recent interview with The Face. Much of Resonant Body is a retro-tinged throwback to a golden era of rave, yet it feels vibrant and fresh. Take the fiery acid licks of opener Imminent Spirit Arrival or the explosive energy of jungle-leaning cut Ecstatic Beat. Thumping house bangers come courtesy of the album’s lead single Spin Girl, Let’s Activate! and triumphant closer Power To The People. A sweet sense of ecstasy is felt with the fuzzy vocal sample of Can You See Me? that says, “I know exactly how you feel”.
Aside from the busy movement of the club, Resonant Body also takes inspiration from the more tranquil landscapes that surround Bouldry-Morrison’s home, a cabin in New Hampshire that she shares with her partners Brooke and Eris Drew. And nowhere does nature’s influence shine brighter than in My Body Is Powerful, a warm, atmospheric interlude towards the end of the album in which birdsong soars and ambient synths ripple like waves.
“Her beautiful songs are infused with love, conviction, magic and joy,” says Eris Drew about the record, “You can feel the nature around her as she wrote it and the power of the body resonating with it.” In the artwork, designed by Brooke (they also designed the cover of the For Lovers EP, released earlier this year), Bouldry-Morrison is depicted surrounded by nature. She sits naked on a rock in the midst of a serene landscape of water, trees and brightly coloured flowers. Brooke’s palette is bold, rich and warm, just like the themes of Resonant Body – love, power and togetherness.