Kelly Lee Owens: Oleic EP

From four tracks alone, it's obvious that London producer Kelly Lee Owens has been an avid studier of what makes great dance music "great".

Kelly Lee Owens

Oleic EP

Label: Smalltown Supersound
US Release Date: 2016-10-21

Kelly Lee Owens' debut on Smalltown Supersound is simply an under-20-minute EP that transmits intelligently-programmed electronic music. Often, the layers are brought in at the exact time you feel like they're going to be; instead of being negatively "predictable", it's one of the most satisfying feelings when listening to electronic music. The weakest cut is the opener "C.B.M.", though it's got a nice-and-simple pairing of thick bass with Boards of Canada-style keyboards. After this, though, things turn great.

On the titular "Oleic", the bells start to chime, the bass starts running, the strings elevate the piece to a new plane as the other elements vary slightly enough to keep us entranced, and then the high-hats and snare are added only half-way through to finish the track. The track booms with the studied beat placement of Daft Punk's Homework, but the cinematic touches of their amorously nostalgic Random Access Memories. Owens' rework of Jenny Hval's "Kingsize" absolutely STOMPS -- repeatedly we hear "Toned. Down. Sound.", yet you can't do anything but blast a track like this. The bassline is acutely textured, and the modular synth squiggles tickle the eardrums like weird fishes while our brains hold on to the high-hat stream. The final "Elliptic" is incredible with its constant morphing, especially when most of its layers are put in place by ~0:45, but then the beat really starts kicking with the high-hats that enter sooner than we expect.

Kelly Lee Owens' delicacy of an EP is a must-listen if you've ever connected with the feeling of hearing a club-thumping tune that is so darn impressive it makes you smile.





Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" Calls Out from the Past

Laura Nyro, a witchy, queer, ethnic Russian Jew, died young, but her non-conformist anthem, "Save the Country", carries forth to these troubled times.


Journalist Jonathan Cott's Interviews, Captured

With his wide-ranging interviews, Jonathan Cott explores "the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination."

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.


'Switched-On Seeker' Is an Imaginative Electronic Reimagining of Mikal Cronin's Latest LP

Listeners who prefer dense rock/pop timbres will no doubt prefer Mikal Cronin's 'Seeker'. However, 'Switched-On Seeker' will surely delight fans of smaller-scale electronic filters.


IYEARA Heighten the Tension on Remix of Mark Lanegan's "Playing Nero" (premiere)

Britsh trio IYEARA offer the first taste of a forthcoming reworking of Mark Lanegan's Somebody's Knocking with a remix of "Playing Nero".


Pottery Take Us Deep Into the Funky and Absurd on 'Welcome to Bobby's Motel'

With Welcome to Bobby's Motel, Pottery have crafted songs to cleanse your musical pallet and keep you firmly on the tips of your toes.


Counterbalance 23: Bob Dylan - 'Blood on the Tracks'

Bob Dylan makes his third appearance on the Acclaimed Music list with his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks. Counterbalance’s Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn are planting their stories in the press.


Luke Cissell Creates Dreamy, Electronic Soundscapes on the Eclectic 'Nightside'

Nightside, the new album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Luke Cissell, is largely synthetic and electronic but contains a great deal of warmth and melody.


Bibio Discusses 'Sleep on the Wing' and Why His Dreams Are of the Countryside

"I think even if I lived in the heart of Tokyo, I'd still make music that reminds people of the countryside because it's where my dreams often take me," says Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) of his music and his new rustic EP.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.


A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.


The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.