One of Britain’s most triumphant musical moments in 2018 was the release of Octavian’s debut mixtape ‘Spaceman’. The genre bending LP relished in soundscaping sonics that have become intrinsic to underground British music, since then Essie has won BBC’s sound of 2019 poll, collaborated with Diplo, and walked for Virgil Abloh’s Luis Vuitton shows. To say he has been busy would be an understatement.
“It’s just so weird” Octo explained in an interview with ID magazine, whilst admitting that a large proportion of ‘Endorphins’ was made under the influence of psychedelics; Skepta produced Praise The Lord on acid, and many of the greats have written songs whilst intensely tripping, so I was going into this project with very high hopes. Looking at the track-listing, there was always a worry that Octavian’s unique sound could be Americanised on his new project; Smokepurpp, A$AP Ferg and Theophilus London all feature, whilst TakeADayTrip have been prominent producers of the Londoner's most recent singles.
The releases leading up to this mixtape had all been promising however. ‘Bet’, a collaboration with Skepta and Essie Gang member Michael Phantom, had an effortless bravado to It’s tone and delivery. People everywhere were bopping their heads to this one; the bass-heavy beat infected the UK’s clubbing scene, along with large parts of America too. ‘Lit’, with A$AP Ferg, proceeded as a single - the track was less impressive, but still justified the generated hype for a new Octo mixtape.
Earlier today, the 23 year old told Annie Mac that Endorphins was made within a months trip to LA; ‘Feel It’, the collaboration with Theophilus London, seems heavily inspired by California’s summery surroundings. The cut embraces a woozy, slightly mystical sound that favours acoustic percussion to the synth lead trap drums we heard throughout large parts of ‘Spaceman’, Octavian has distinctively tried to experiment with his song writing, broadening his back catalogue and diversifying his fanbase. Tape opener ’Gangster Love’ draws on gospel influences, whilst crescendoing a mash up of autotune vocals and delicate piano loops; the latter end of the project focuses more on electronic, Detroit house vibes that could be likened to previous singles like 'Party Here' and 'Lightning'.
'Endorphins' is generally very Lo-Fi, despite the intersecting pair of tunes ‘Take It Easy’ and ‘Bet’, which satisfy those who are looking for Octavian's more visceral side. The cover of SBTRKT’s ‘Right Thing To Do’ however shows a tenderness to the French born star that is becoming a prominent part of his music.‘My Head’ is also a real highlight, ABRA has gone beneath our radar, but we will definitely be checking her out more on upcoming projects. The New York native's drowsy delivery is short-lived, but works so well with Octavian’s equally bizarre vocal tones.
The Londoner’s debut album is set to come out in February of 2020, after experimenting heavily on his last two mixtapes he will hopefully solidify an aesthetic that completely distinguishes himself from both the UK and US scene. If he does so, the world is his oyster. For now though, Endorphins? “It’s a vibe, whatever” as Octavian claimed to Annie Mac earlier, It’s certainly one to bang over the summer.