Late last month, I received a mysterious cold-sent email from a man named Liam O'Brien simply titled "Hi From Wisconsin." I've since learned O'Brien has previously played and released music with Holy Sheboygan!, Moon Ruin, and his namesake, Liam O'Brien's Faithless Followers. For his latest endeavor, Liam has joined forces with fellow Wisconsinite and multi-instrumentalist Cole Quamme ("qua-mee") of The Fatty Acids; "OQ is Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme in collaboration with an array of Midwestern, US-based contributors," reads their "short" press release. While amidst the earliest stages of recording in 2016, Cole Quamme reached out to his fellow Milwaukee Folk/Bluegrass peers to see what they could, potentially, do with his unique style of "Bubu"-leaning beats. Quamme was, eventually, connected with Liam O'Brien, who morphed his inter-locking rhythms into full-fledged compositions based on Celtic melodies influenced by his family's native Ireland. Liam & Cole, eventually, brought their songs out of Liam's attic studio and into Silver City, and up-start Milwaukee-based studio run by The Fatty Acids' frontman, Josh Evert.
Long-time Bon Iver collaborator Mike Noyce assisted in fleshing out OQ's songs with fresh ideas, mixes, and performances from Milwaukee's finest. OQ's Paradice 1 EP was mixed at Bon Iver's oft-used April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin by Mike Noyce, Liam O'Brien, and Josh Evert. OQ premiered their first collaborative single, "Lifestyle," on Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon's newly-launched digital streaming platform/collective, PEOPLE (@37d03d) with The National's Aaron & Bryce Dessner. In addition to OQ, PEOPLE's current "projects" roster features Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner's own Big Red Machine, Har Mar Superstar, Marijuana Deathsquads, Machinegum featuring The Strokes' Fabrizio Moretti, Mouse On Mars, Poliça, and Eighth Blackbird with Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Bryce Dessner, amongst other talented acts. OQ's Paradice 1 EP has a very unique Tribal/Bubu-leaning sound reminiscent of both Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors' early work, as well as Tinariwen, Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo's critically-acclaimed Graceland, and Mumford & Sons' Johannesburg EP recorded with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg.
Although, OQ has been officially labelled as a "duo" consisting of Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme, their Paradice 1 EP features contributions from a who's-who of talented Milwaukee-based musicians including Alex Heaton, Josh Evert, Ivan Eisenberg, Treccy Marquardt-Thomas, D'Amato Werlein, Caley Conway, Dana Elyse Smith, Mike Noyce, Derek De Vinney, Steven Strupp, Carmen Quinliven, Sarah Shay, John Larkin, Ian Olvera, Alex Scott, Ms. Lotus Fankh, and Hesper Juhnke. OQ's Paradice 1 EP is now available on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Spotify, as well as other like-minded digital streaming services. OQ will be holding an EP Release Show—dualling as their debut performance—at Company Brewing in Milwaukee this Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 10-2:00am. NO/NO & Ruth B8r Gingsburg will be on the bill, as well, along with a special presentation of Cole Quamme's Paradice 1 EP companion "video album," which can be viewed within this very post, for those unable to attend OQ's EP Release Show.
":::::: hearkening a distant past
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heralding in the coming of a not-so-distant future ::::::::"