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"Loving the new record by Portland's Josh Ottum, which combines intricate indie with flashes of the lush '80s period Chicago." Kate Mossman, Word Magazin

"Endlich ein neues Album von Josh Ottum. Ihm gelingt es, poppige Leichtigkeit und songwriterische Substanz zusammenzubringen." intro

"Der Mix macht's: Josh Ottum setzt die große Melodie ins komplexe Songwriting und präsentiert einen spannenden wie entspannten Sommer-Soundtrack" tonspion.de

"Eine Mischung aus Banalem und Genialem, aus höchster Studioqualität und GarageBand-Sounds, mit jeder Menge verspielten, aber eingängigen Melodien." 917xfm

"There is no definite style here but more of a coming together of genres which all help create a harmonious tune that makes the feet tingle and the soul feel rejuvenated." Maverick Magazin

"Watch TV" (release date: July 8, 2011)

Although “Watch TV” is only Josh Ottum’s second album, it is the result of years of songwriting, experimentation, sonic exploration, and personal introspection. Recorded piece by piece at both Richard Swift's National Freedom studio in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and Casey Foubert’s Metal Camp in Enatai, Washington, between 2007 and 2010, “Watch TV” is a sonically unified album even as it remains a study in contrasts. Josh consciously chose to utilize an accessible musical palette in both his melodies and in his instrumentation.

Indeed, a lot of the programming for the album was done on the consumer music software GarageBand. Josh isn't really shy about this, "when GarageBand came out I just went crazy with it. It is so intuitive and I like the stock sounds and loops quite a bit. Of course they're tweaked a bit in some cases, but I like the feeling of breaking the rules of my idea of professional musician-y sound creation." There are pop hooks galore (listen to ‘Fool in the Night’, ‘Storms in the Summertime’ and ‘My First Love’ and just try to keep yourself from moving around). And there are heartbreaking ballads that fit somewhere between some of Paul Simon's most transparent work and David Foster-produced 80's ballads by Chicago and Lionel. As Josh notes, "I've always loved midi sounds, fake choirs and sampled steel drums. I am also aware of how ridiculous these things are. I don't like them…I love them.”

But at the same time he’s stressing consumer instruments and technology and accessible melodies and hooks, Josh remains interested in compositional complexity. This juxtaposition of the “accessible” with the experimental bespeaks of the larger conceptual scope of “Watch TV”: What can be hidden beneath that which seems simple or easy to understand? What kind of emotional content lies underneath sounds that can seem almost cliché? And in what ways are our emotions and personal lives interwoven with pop music “clichés?”

It is this, the album's admixtures of human and technological, of studio musicianship and consumer software, of melodic naiveté and compositional complexity, of accessibility and depth, of cliche and expression, that come together around the human experience in modern society. Much like our relationship with TV music, each song on “Watch TV” provides a cinematic palate for the listener to project his or her feelings onto.

The album means to be evocative. Of the warm melancholy that comes from a dark Pacific Northwest Saturday morning. Of the familiar pain of the predictable miscommunication that comes with the territory of romantic relationships. Of the piano music your parents played during the build up to Thanksgiving dinner. The anticipation of consumerism and the emptiness and lack of fulfillment after getting that thing you wanted. The horizon fading from view as your flight takes a turn towards the sunny suburbs of Orange County. The risk of following your heart when you know someone else's is going to break. The non-risk of sinking into another long night of television watching. Searching for deeper spiritual fulfillment through endless hours staring at webpages that provide a window into a life you're currently not living.

All of this, of course, is as important or more so than the album’s conceptual and compositional structure. Ultimately, “Watch TV” is fun and personal as well as being smart.

German press info for "Watch TV" (VÖ 8.7.2011)

Jahrelang hat Josh Ottum getextet und komponiert, experimentiert, Klänge ebenso erkundet wie sich selbst, bevor sein zweites Album „Watch TV“ endlich fertig gestellt war. Lied für Lied wurde es zwischen 2007 und 2010 in Richard Swifts National Freedom Studio in Cottage Grove/Oregon und in Casey Fouberts Metal Camp in Enatai/Washington aufgenommen. Josh hat sich bewusst für eingängige Melodien im Kontrast zu komplizierten Arrangements entschieden.

Die Mischung aus Banalem und Genialem, aus höchster Studioqualität und GarageBand-Sounds, aus melodischer Naivität und kompositorischer Komplexität, Klischee und Ausdruck ist das Markenzeichen Josh Ottums. Was kann sich hinter dem scheinbar Einfachen, leicht Verständlichen verbergen? Welche Emotion kann ein Sound auslösen, obwohl er fast schon wie ein Klischee klingt? Und was haben unsere eigenen Gefühle und unser eigenes Leben mit den durchgekauten Klischees der Pop-Musik zu tun?

Josh Ottum’s Musik ist der leicht überdrehte Soundtrack zu vielen kleinen Film-Episoden: Die warmen Klänge eines Samstagmorgens am dunklen Pazifik im Nordwesten der USA. Die Klaviermusik, die unsere Eltern gespielt haben, als ein großes Essen an Thanksgiving vorbereitet wurde. Die Vorfreude beim Shoppen und die Leere und Enttäuschung, sobald das begehrte Ding erstanden ist. Der aus dem Blick gleitende Horizont, während der Flieger sich den sonnigen Vororten im Orange County zuwendet. Das Risiko, dem eigenen Herzen zu folgen, wenn ein anderes darüber zerbrechen könnte. Die banale Abwesenheit jedes Risikos bei einer weiteren langen Nacht vor der Glotze.

Das alles ist natürlich mindestens ebenso wichtig wie die konzeptuelle und kompositorische Struktur des Albums.

Und man kann ohne Übertreibung sagen: Josh Ottum ist einer der vielschichtigsten Musiker Amerikas und vielleicht die Überraschung des Sommers!

Watch TV (CD/LP)

Like The Season (CD Digipak/LP)

Mellow Out (EP)