ROM are Icenine, olivepixel, and Blaise. But, what is ROM really? Is it a group of androids from the middle Earth? A band of thieves from another dimension? Psychotic aliens who escaped from the planet where they were locked in for their crimes? Common people that alienated by daily life mutated into electronic druids? I know very well they are a group of human-looking guys producing hip hop beats, disorder, and images. Still those other strange descriptions sound more pertinent to me, most of all because of the metallic distorted waves that I feel constantly emanating from them.
Tomorrow at The Shelter, ROM will officially launch their self-titled album released under the record label Pause: Music. In general the vibe of ROM is dark, heavy, and spacial. To me ROM feels like one of those albums that it wants to be played some few times before one starts to get into it, and I’m pretty sure that it needs to be play loud, probably very loud, to open the tightness of its sounds, which makes me believe that when they will play it tomorrow at The Shelter I’ll listen to details that I haven’t yet found in ROM, the album, the group, sure will take me way longer to decipher.
The album contains fourteen tracks with beats produced and rhymed by Icenice, who also produced it together with Blaise and Downstate, and with olivepixel as the mind behind the graphic body of ROM. ROM, the album, is a compilation of curious, cold, and sharp beats, pulsing at a mellow rhythm, a constant tempo that few times changes, and a rapping that stays flat on a tone, and few times plays while phrasing. It could be taken as Icenine’s style if you want, maybe he just doesn’t like textures and tones, because on “No Fun Anymore” is pretty clear to me that he can produce them, but even there his voice has moments where it seems to be trapped, it’s impossible to know why he rhymes like he does, but when I hear him keeping the same tone for minutes it pushes my focus away, I loose the connection with the music. I think that is a technical problem, maybe he is just missing a trip around the range of his voice, and the textures of his words, whatever it is, anyway, to me the dominance of a flat rhyming is the weak spot of ROM.
There are nice sounds all along the album, details that give to ROM a strong science fiction atmosphere, I’m sure I can listen to sounds of cylons, machines, space ships, sunsets on alien deserts, laser guns, robotic voices, Doppler effects, and bounces of time (yes, no idea what I mean with that, but I hear some sounds that make me think of this).
“World of Tomorrow” is a song that could be the first single of ROM, if this album would resist the “single” denomination, I think it probably doesn’t. ROM is hermetic in so many ways that it doesn’t seem to fit easily with established conventions of the common world, the sharp sounds, the repetitive cadence, the darkness of the lyrics, the strength of the images linked to these sounds, those that come on the booklet, and those that come from my mind, and the constant tight beats. As I feel it, ROM wants to be listen with dedicated attention, other way it won’t open to you.
“Mistake” is other song that shows some qualities of Icenine’s rhyming style, also it brings different airs to the continuity of the story. “Mistake” is followed by “The Creative Act” featuring ChaCha on vocals, which brings a nice breath to those tight beats. I like there the line “schools make the slaves, and slaves make the machine”, this reminds me of Androsace, they do a total different kind of music, but now I can imagine them playing along with ROM in a concert for ultra dark people, probably vampires.
ROM includes a booklet with the graphic work of olivepixel, VJ, graphic artist, and probably elf, or children killer, I’m not totally sure about his real personality. However, olivepixel’s graphic work is a great addition to ROM’s music. The images linked to the album were developed in collaboration with Icenine and Blaise, and I’m pretty sure that, tomorrow at The Shelter, olivepixel will do a great exhibition of his graphical powers with those images.
ROM is not the every day cup of tea for people that enjoys only house music, pop, or mandopop. Sure not! This is music for people that is curious about music, about sounds, about science fiction, and about arts. I constantly hear people that is trying to do things that have not been done yet here, or anywhere, I’m not really a fan of innovators in music, so I usually don’t buy cheap their talk about what they want to do, I mean, I don’t give a lot of value to music that’s innovating and just that, I care more about enjoying what I hear. I’m more like a developers fan, I guess. But I have to say that in my books are not yet many things like ROM, the album, and the group.
Find more information about ROM on their official website