The Genuine Sound Of October's Album "Ultra Red"


October is the artistic exploration of Emma Logan, who has released her first full length album Ultra Red to the public this month. The album is something entirely new to anything we’ve heard come out of New Zealand.

It feels not so long ago I watched her perform on top of a makeshift stage in an organised house party in the residential suburb of Wadestown, Wellington. Since then she has only grown as an artist with an entirely new and separate identity than anything else currently in NZ or previously for that matter. Now residing in Auckland where she has been producing alongside Grammy-Award winning Joel Little, Ultra Red takes us on a well produced journey of emotion. The direction feels genuine and even sincere at times as October vocals span from reverberated & distorted ballads to a background echo. Sonically the album is sporadic, encompassing something of a Post-punk industrial sound taking a step towards the futuristic production we hear in the likes of Arca, Doon Kanda & Lotic.  

Tracks like Interlude/All I Wanted To Feel bring the album back to a slower melodic tempo of isolation. The repetitive lyrics of literally “All I wanted to feel was something” gives the audience a refreshing feel of simplicity and although may not contain much on the surface is definitely one of the more sombre yet attractive tracks. It is hard not to notice & comment on the lyrics of anxiety, “I don’t want to be pure, then again i’m not sure.” on Pure. It is almost as if there are two voices across the album, that October is having a conversation with herself for her audience to tune into. By no means does the album close off from emotion, under the harsh synths and post-punk sounds is a sincere discussion of these feelings. It becomes difficult to tell if this is a wider conversation or self-disclosure.

All this is accompanied by a stunningly designed album artwork by partner & creative Connor Hickey who uses an oddly dystopian aesthetic. We aren't entirely sure what the structure is, but it gives the feeling of both purity & daunt. The viewer gazes into the abyss almost looking out of the mouth of something not quite from this dimension piercing the ‘floor’. Personally this is one of my favourite artworks I’ve seen in 2018 and leaves me looking forward to what comes next from the duo. October is definitely on the forefront of her sound with a certainly unpredictable future of progression. No matter what her next project consists of it is sure to be something of interest for most.

You can listen to October’s Ultra Red on Spotify (below) or purchase it via Itunes.

Written by Aitken Hawkins.

Photo: Sniffers