Partly inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 1950 short story The Veldt, which forecast the potential dangers of virtual reality, O’Sullivan’s new solo album similarly conjures up a universe where nothing is quite as it first appears.
Sounds, song structures and indeed whole genres seem to merge into one, morphing from beautiful to abrasive, from pretty to creepy and back again. The whole thing works as a cohesive piece of music, which is testament to his skill with bricolage and montage. O’Sullivan has operated under a number of guises, from his relatively pop-influenced project Mothlite to border-pushing collaborations with Grumbling Fur, Ulver and Æthenor. His willingness to mix and match noises and found sounds from across different disciplines and aesthetics makes Veld something of an obstacle course for the untrained ear. Yet after digesting the experience a time or two, full focus is achieved. The slow, muggy drones leading to blasts of euphoria that echo Broken Social Scene, the angelic Cocteau Twins-like female voices, the sampled oddities and the crooning of lines like ‘ghosts live inside of us’ all coalesce into a multi-dimensional artwork that successfully soundtracks our profoundly confusing 21st century.