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"Austin Monthly Review"

"Straight from the Studio"

June 2007 Issue

Many people hear the word "electronica" and think soulless, machine-made music- not so with OHN. The band's talent, plus founder/producer Bill "Bildeaux" Sarver's aptitude for blending each part with doeses of funk, jazz, and other rhythms, leads to music with plenty of heart. The psychedelic instrumental "Space Cadet" follows the up-tempo, Latin-infused "Any Way You Look at It, " and opener "Attention" has a driving beat that slides perfectly underneath vocalist Allison Scharf's soaring, dreamy vocals. Don't fear the electronica; embrace your inner techno fan. - Ward Lowe

"Austin Music Magazine"

“Dear Prudence” has been covered by a fairly wide array of bands, from Jerry Garcia (who considered the song one of his favorites) to Siouxsie and the Banshees. So it seems like a natural evolution for Austin-based OHN to swoop past folk and gothic rock to produce an electronic version that is surprisingly natural and fluid.

The remaining nine songs are equally floaty and glide along. Their sophomore effort is a slinky mix of liquid beats, swirling sax, pulsing guitar and creamy vocals. Atmospheric and dreamy, Revolutionary Revolution masters both instrumental cuts and lyric numbers, with newcomer Allison Scharf’s buttery voice rounding out the quintet. The end result is an album perfect for both play and relaxation.

The other surprise is the process behind the birth of their albums. Each member records their respective parts individually in the studio, where OHN founder/producer/ programmer/keyboardist Bill “Bildeaux” Sarver manipulates each piece like blocks in a high level game of Tetris, finally meshing scattered bits into a cohesive cut. Perhaps a more fitting title would be Revolutionary Revelation, or Revelationary Revolution. The possibilities? With OHN, they are endless.
- megan renart

"The Bee"

This album surely blows you away. I was really not expecting what I got, when listening to this album. At the radio stations I was randomly previewing artist from the RPM preview rack and I came across this little electronica outfit, OHN. Well this is surely a fusion of electronica, soul, jazz, and other tasty delights. Of course there is a female lead vocalist to add to the immersive sounds.

OHN goes into a genre all of there own, it’s difficult to explain there sound, beside the fact that it’s based on an electronic beat. Yet OHN has so much more to offer than the basic electronic. They can somehow intertwine, a saxophone soul with electronic beats and bird sounds and make it sound, just stunning. OHN sound is limitless, when most of the songs are a harmonically produced clash of random sounds. I have no idea how they make there sounds, sound so great together.

Allison Scharf the female vocalist in the group adds into the group a sound that is not like others in this genre of music. Her voice in the album is not the typical techno voice, but more of a singer songwriter type of approach. It’s an unconventional way to go about adding vocalist into a group, but her voice goes well with the music rhythmically, without losing her own identity as a singer.

This jazzy-electronica ensemble has a delightful array of sample songs on there Myspace. There album was recently released this month, you can purchase it off there online store. - DJ Vicious

"Austin 360"

Ohn CD release at the Karma Lounge. I first stumbled across an Ohn CD a couple years back when I first started doing a show on KOOP radio. It was cool but a little too electronic for me. I rediscovered the band earlier this year when they submitted tracks to SoundCheck360. Frankly, I was blown back. The band’s overall sound has matured with complex compositions anchored by catchy polyrhythmic grooves, but really, it’s the recent addition of vocalist Allison Scharf that’s elevates this band into a whole new dimension. Her hazy voice wafts in and out over jazzy soundscapes with an effortless sensuality that’s hard to resist. In my opinion, Ohn is easily one of the most interesting acts in Austin right now. But why take my word? Listen for yourself. Cover unspecified, but free CDs for all who attend. - Almost Urban

"InSite Magazine Feature Article"

From “In the End, All Things Begin”...the radio jock announced after playing an intensely cool and sexy song that made me turn up the volume of my car stereo so loud that everyone in earshot could hear the catchy refrain, “while you were sleeping, lovers made the sun rise”.

That was almost a year ago, and though I was able to find copies of both In the End, All Things Begin and a previous release entitled Let’s Get it…OHN, tracking down the actual Austin-based band that produced this impressive music was another matter all together. My search finally ended, or as the album title suggests, began, at The Parish club on September 15th, when OHN stepped on stage as the opening act for the throwback fusion-jam-band, Particle.

Within minutes of starting their set, the six-member OHN took control of the room: a powerful mix of electronic and traditional instrumentation with gorgeous, melodies, soulful vocals, raging guitar riffs and muscular sax lines, that orbited around chunky, electronic poly-rhythms designed to bypass the brain and go straight to the booty! This is not an outfit that produces sterile ‘electronica’ and barely notices the audience - these people know how to get it on for a live show.

The line-up consisted of founder/producer Bill “Bildeaux” Sarver (Beat Architect), Andrew Tachovsky (Guitar), Chris Forshage (Guitar & Trumpet), Brad Houser (Bass & Saxophone), Allison Scharf (Vocals & Lyrics), and filling in for male vocalist & keyboard player, Ryan Blum-Kryzstal, was Laura Scarborough (Keyboards &additional Vocals). The new 7-song promo CD (which I picked up at the show) pushes the OHN sound even further into the stratosphere. There’s true greatness here that Austin, and the World, needs to know about!

I met with four members of the band a few days after their stunning live show.

MM: How did OHN get started?

Bill: I was coming from a heavy-industrial band called “Necrofix”…the only electronic band that was allowed to play the Back Room. There were about 15 to 20 musicians in ‘02 and ’03 that were making electronic music in Austin and a label called ‘Seed Knowledge’ that was releasing the stuff (like the Order of Magnitude compilation with The Omicron Experiment, Echo Base Soundsystem, and Laura Scarborough). We all knew each other and over time different projects evolved out of that same group of people. I wanted to combine the electronic sounds with live musicianship…it’s much more organic and better for live shows. Gradually, I found other people who were also interested in that.

MM: What’s it like being an electronic-based band in Austin, Texas?

Brad: We’re not really part of the (Austin) music scene, which is either country- roots-based or blues-rock-based…there’s not much support here for what we do, but that’s O.K. ‘cause we like it!

Bill: Yeah, I don’t really go out to see other bands much…I mostly work in my home studio and Brad and I also play in Laura Scarborough’s band, Lila’s Medicine, which performs a lot more often than OHN.

MM: Brad, weren’t you in the punk jazz band, Critter’s Buggin? I saw you guys when I was living in Portland, Oregon. You were awesome! And didn’t you also play with the New Bohemians?

Brad: Thanks…Critter’s Buggin came together when I was living in Seattle…we still do a few shows a year, and actually, I started the New Bohemians in Dallas, where I’m from. I’m going on tour with Edie (Brickell) again, the end of this year.

MM: Where has OHN played recently and what was the response?

Bill: Before the show at The Parish, we performed in July at the Hi-Lo Club for about a hundred people. On Thursdays, It’s the new hang-out for electronic musicians. It went really well. We get a much better turnout when we don’t play too often…the band isn’t taken for granted.

Allison: We were also chosen to perform at NXNE in Toronto, Canada last June, which was great because they made us a ‘recommended pick’ and put our picture on the festival website.

MM: I was surprised by the band’s line-up at The Parish…there’s no female vocals on either of the CD’s that I have. Has Allison taken over for Ryan?

Andrew: He’s actually getting a degree in music at The New School in N.Y.C. He’s incredibly talented and we’re all really happy for him. He still does gigs with us when he’s in town.

Bill: And I met Allison through this group called The George W. Bush Singers that I did samples for (they opened for Vanilla Ice at SXSW and also performed at Antone’s, with Ann Richards sitting front and center) and I just thought, yeah, this is a cool and sexy blonde that might be perfect for OHN. She also writes great lyrics.

MM: Is Laura going to be doing more shows with you, too?

Bill: Well, she wants to move to Berlin…she’s going there in January for a project and to check it out. There’s a much bigger electronic music scene there and she needs the challenge.

MM: What’s Chris about? With that long, silky hair to his waist, he looks like some kind of hippie, until he’s starts pulling out those intense, post-punk guitar riffs.

Andrew: Chris has his own guitar shop (Forshage Custom Instruments) and he’ll make any kind of stringed instrument you want…it’s amazing how good he is!

Bill: He’s way into Buckethead, Slayer, Prague Rock and Mars Volta.

MM: That leads me to my next question…what are your influences?

Bill: Afro Beats and Fela Kuti, Zero 7, old Morcheeba, and the Boom Boom Satellites from Japan…we’re all into them.

Brad: Yeah, I think we’re moving more and more in that direction. Me, I’m influenced by Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Lester Young, Boots Randolph and Motown.

Allison: I listen to a lot of Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald…but I don’t sound anything like them. When I was young, I would dance around the living room to Madonna and Queen! And I also like Bebel Gilberto.

MM: So where does the funk influence come from?

Andrew: We were all listening to Chris Joss…and I’ve always liked that ‘whacka whacka’ guitar sound that you hear in Curtis Mayfield’s music. I’m also way into Grant Green, who played with Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner…all those Blue Note musicians.

MM: For the techies out there Bill, what equipment do you use?

Bill: Well, a Mac Power Book that runs a live looping sequencer program called ‘Ableton’ that allows me to trigger parts at anytime. I access the software with the Novation SL and Korg midi controllers that function as both mixers and keyboards. I also have a Kaoss Effects Box with a touch pad and some plug-ins, to create stutters, glitches & delays.

MM: How do you develop new material?

Allison: Usually Bill emails me a rhythm structure he’s laid down and then I start working on some lyrics and vocal parts that feel right, record it in my home studio and email it back to him.

Andrew: Yeah, we all have home studios and we do a lot of emailing of parts, back and forth, until Bill has assembled the whole thing. It’s a great way to work when you’re married and have a second child on the way!

Bill: Even though we write in this piecemeal kind of way, when we have a show coming up, we rehearse quite a lot.

MM: I’ve been listening to the new promo CD and was really impressed with how you funneled bits and pieces of several other Beatles’ songs into your version of “Dear Prudence”.

Bill: I have to give credit to Chris and Andrew for that. They’re both music history fanatics, and I just worked in what they gave me.

MM: Where does the name OHN come from?

Bill: I wanted to call the band ON, but someone else was using that, so it sort of evolved into OHN, which we like to say stands for “Our Hostage Nation”.

MM: Bill, you’re such a brilliant producer, would you be interested in working with other bands?

Bill: If I had the time…I have a day job with AT&T. I’m developing some new technology that I’m not allowed to talk about. But, yeah, if the opportunity was right, I’d be interested.

MM: What are your future plans for OHN?

Bill: To finish the new CD…we need three or four more songs to complete it and then release it by next spring. I’d like us to open for more out-of-town bands… expose different audiences to what we’re doing. And I’ll just continue to utilize whatever members are available at the time. I’m always amazed when someone as busy as Brad even shows up for a gig…he’s such a great musician and seems to raise the bar for everyone, just with his presence. I really appreciate all the talented people I have around me.

MM: My friend saw your show at The Parish and wants you to play her club in Monterrey, Mexico. There’s an amazing modern music scene down there. Would you be interested?

Brad: Absolutely!

Allison: That sounds really cool.

Bill: Yeah, I think that’s something we should do. I’ve never been to Mexico. - InSite Magazine

"91.7 KOOP"

OHN and Austin Unsigned - details from 3/29/2007 show

02. OHN / "Be with Me" / Austin Unsigned (multi-artist compilation), or Revolutionary Revolution (Ohn's new CD)

The band:

OHN is one of my favorite electronic-oriented bands. I hesitate to call it electronica or techno because of the major input of highly talented musicians on guitars, horns, and bass who make the sound much more organic than typical electronica. The band is led by programmer Bill “Bildeaux” Sarver (Soak [link 1, link 2], Lila’s Medicine), who takes the recorded input of the other musicians and electronically mixes and mashes it into a new mix:

“OHN’s material … starts with Bildeaux generating rhythm tracks with a bass line and maybe a keyboard part or two. Members of the group then come in to lay down their parts, then Bildeaux edits, chops, samples and creates parts out of the various performances, and an OHN track is created.”

The band’s other veteran musicians are guitarist/horn-blower Chris Forshage (Larry, Grass, Pura Vida), guitarist Andrew Tachovsky (Pura Vida), bassist/saxist Brad Houser (Eddie Brickell & the New Bohemians, Critter’s Buggin, Zydeco Blanco [website, myspace]), and latest band member, vocalist Allison Scharf (Humblebums, Ciccialina, solo).

The OHN album:
With her very techno-influenced vocal style, Scharf gives the new OHN CD, Revolutionary Revolution, a different feel from their two earlier releases, which were almost entirely instrumental. A March 28 announcement at their web site says the CD is already available at Waterloo Records. The big dual CD release show (Lila’s Medicine [Bildeaux and Laura Scarborough] is also celebrating a CD release that night) will be April 21, 9 pm, at the Karma Lounge.

The compilation album:
Austin Unsigned – Austin’s Best Kept Secrets – Volume 1 was released March 15 by Austin Compilations, inexplicably on the same day they released another compilation CD with many of the same artists, Austin Mix – Volume 1 (which is available through their web site, at least). They have several other Austin artist compilations on the horizon including unplugged and country discs. This particular disc has a lot of talented artists in pop, pop rock, and r&b, with OHN and The Black and White Years (see our March 15 SXSW week playlist, Set 3, for the latter) being the notable deviations from the mainstream sound of the rest of the line-up, which is Dave Madden, Blake and Fallon, J. Price, Fairday, Rana, Adam McInnis, Meridianwest, and Topher Williams. - Charlie Martin of 91.7 KOOP Radio - Around the town sounds

"101.5 Chillville"

101x Chillville made us the "Catch of the Day" for Jan 21st. Big thanks to Jason and Ray Dog for the support. Be sure to tune into Chillville Sundays from 9 to noon on 101.5 in Austin TX.

I, Full Monty, am pleased to bring you some local flavor as my “Catch of the Day”. I give you Austin’s own - OHN. This local band, OHN (pronounced “own”) has actually been around for a few years, and are putting the final touches on their 3rd album. Bill Sarver is one of the founding members of this mellow electronic band, which produces hypnotic chill beats accompanied by live instruments and vocals. Their sound can be funky at times, due to their selection of beats. However, the mix of guitar and violins that have been processed with a synthesizer keep the chill ambience alive. The difference with this third album, Revolutionary Revolution, is the beautiful vocals of Allison Scharf, who is the newest addition to the band. Her sensual vocals are the biggest change on this new album from the previous two, and work perfectly with the trip hop, jazzy sounds of the band. Look for the new album to come out in late February. My song selection is The Beatles cover of Dear Prudence. - Full Monty

"Revolutionary Revolution #1 RPM Add on CMJ"

The third OHN album "Revolutionary Revolution" was the #1 RPM radio add on CMJ for the week of April 21st 2007.

#13 on CMJ charts for several weeks from May-June 2007. - CMJ

"Revolutionary Revolution Review"

An outstanding follow-up to their 2005 release In the End, All Things Begin. Austin’s OHN consistently produces rich, melodic, sensual and sometimes intense, electronic-based music…sort of a cross between Zero 7 and Japan’s Boom Boom Satellites with some Miles Davis and Fela Kuti added to the mix. Project leader and producer, Bill Sarver, brilliantly augments his complex programming and knob turning with keyboards, electric guitars and bass, saxophone, and the occasional trumpet or cello, creating a densely layered sound that provides a perfect counterpoint for the cool, yet plaintive vocals of Allison Scharf. Whereas Toronto’s Euphoria uses slide guitar and harmonica to add a country and blues tinged warmth to their electronica, OHN opts for jazz and funk elements instead, with equal success.

The album opens with the dynamic attention-getter, Attention, built around a loping, Latin polyrhythm that is a springboard for the swirling, stuttering, echo-drenched production. The smooth vocals and insistent lyrics (by Scharf) add just the right amount of dramatic tension, further heightened by Andrew Tachovsky’s jagged rhythm guitar and the searing solo guitar of Chris Forshage. Things get even more psychedelic with their excellent cover of the Beatles’ classic, Dear Prudence. Co-produced by Sarver and bassist Bob Amonett, the song begins with a synthesized organ crescendo, wooden block, and marching-band rhythm, then introduces Scharf’s airy, doubled vocal along with bits and pieces of other Beatles’ songs, slyly weaving in and out of the tune as it progresses…a fitting homage to the Fab Four and producer George Martin.

The third cut, Big Lie (with lyrics by Jason Decuir) shifts into a jazzy, downbeat groove with the extra bottom-heavy bass line of Joe Santori and haunting keyboard melodies by Sarver, himself. Scharf handles this languid ballad about deception and infidelity, with a Sade-like grace. What Does Soul Represent is an impeccably arranged, bouncy, breezy, soulful instrumental with sampled voice and flute, sinuous bass guitar and tinkling piano. The jazzy, up-tempo Any Way U Look at It has ‘instant airplay’ written all over it (for the savvy D.J. who gets it). With a catchy elliptical refrain and the sassy and stylish Afro-beat sax playing of Brad Houser, the cool and confident lyrics offer just the kind of life advice anyone could use. The next tune, These Politics takes it up a notch with Scharf’s smooth-as-velvet vocals floating on top of a driving, syncopated acid-jazz groove that periodically deconstructs then comes back together again.

The remaining four tracks include a spacey, leaden-boot stomp through the stratosphere, Space Cadet; a poignant down-tempo confessional with the beautifully textured guitar work of Tachovsky called Be With Me; the complex rhythm and keyboard driven, The World is Beautiful, that delivers a life-affirming if somewhat fatalistic message: and finally, the radiantly dark ‘Bitches Brew-inspired’ instrumental, Black seven, showcasing the trumpet and sax prowess of Forshage and Houser. It’s so rare these days to find an album where every track stands on its own and gets even deeper under your skin with each listening. Bravo to Sarver and his band of cohorts. (A+) (MM) See OHN Live at their CD Release Party on Saturday, April 21, The Karma Lounge. - Marsha Mann of Insite Magazine - Insite Magazine

"OHN Awards"

OHN is up for 2 Grammy nominations this year. "These Politics" for best dance recording, and "Revolutionary Revolution" for best Electronic Album.

OHN Wins OurStage Electronic Stage with the track "These Politics".

OHN Featured Pick by Global Rhythm Magazine for "Any Way U Look At It".

OHN grand prize winner for the Artists Forum Electronic Music Competition.

OHN video for "Ijo People" wins IFC Media Lab and will air on IFC in November.

OHN licensed for the PBS show "Road Trip Nation".

OHN licensed for the Italian Clothing Line "Original Marines". - Various


"Revolutionary Revolution" - Released April 3rd 2007. Stand out tracks receiving airplay are "Dear Prudence", "Any Way U Look At It","Big Lie" and "Be With Me."

"Let's Get It..." - Released May 18th 2004. Stand out tracks receiving airplay are "Regret", "Dusk" and "Crawlspace".

"In The End, All Things Begin" - Released June 20th 2005. Tracks receiving airplay are "While You Were Sleeping", "Talking With Shadows", "You Still Haunt Me", "Ijo People" and "Supernova".



OHN is a band that defies categorization; an interesting amalgam of diverse artists and genres that converge so seamlessly and well that you can easily convince yourself that they are together, playing, rehearsing, and recording 24/7.

They are not—although they do rehearse more before a live performance—but their ability to find the same sonic groove is no accident. Each of the members brings an impressive musical pedigree to the stage and studio and, more importantly, an attitude that pushing the boundaries outward and upward is good.

Founding father, programmer and producer, Bill “Bildeaux” Sarver, has worked on material for talented artists such as Jarboe from the Swans, Riggs from Rob Zombie, Soak (Interscope/Sire) and Laura Scarborough. Chris Forshage (guitar, horn) has played with many acts including Larry and Grass. Andrew Tachovsky is a guitar veteran, previously sharing stages with Chris in the band Pura Vida. Brad Houser (bass, sax) is a veteran of several top bands such as Critter's Buggin (Ropeadope), The New Bohemians (Geffen), and Lila's Medicine. The most recent addition is Allison Scharf, who provides sensual vocals that mix perfectly with the sultry downtempo sounds.

OHN’s material, featured on 2004’s Let’s Get It… and a 2005 release, In The End, All Things Begin, starts with Bildeaux generating rhythm tracks with a bass line and maybe a keyboard part or two. Members of the group then come in to lay down their parts, then Bildeaux edits, chops, samples and creates parts out of the various performances, and an OHN track is created.

It’s a process that has some techno-structure, but it is not devoid of soul. OHN brings energy and emotion to their live performances, with artists riffing on the basic structure of the songs.

“This is not an outfit that produces sterile ‘electronica’ and barely notices the audience,” wrote Marsha Mann in Insite Magazine. “These people know how to get it on for a live show."

For vocalist Scharf, involvement in OHN opened a new musical channel. “I played in an alt-rock band for several years, and I felt like I was constantly battling to be heard over the drums and distortion,” she says. “With electronica, I feel like I can utilize my voice in more ways: I can try for breathy, husky, soft, more aggressive, lower notes, higher notes.....whatever I think suits the song.”

As you’d expect, the musical influences that flavor OHN’s work are stunningly diverse, yet the band members are on the same page when it comes to applying it to their recording and performances. Sarver sums it up: “I am constantly listening to music of all genre types. I often hear old tunes and say "man, we gotta try that". I approach each track as an experiment to see if I can push my abilities and the musicians I work with to achieve something we have not accomplished before. That constant demand for something new is what keeps things exciting for me.”

OHN’s fans know that any given album—or track—can be different from the last; an OHN album often covers many genres of music. “We’re always looking to experiment and push our musical abilities as far as we can,” Sarver says.

Check out OHN’s website at www.letsgetitohn.com for the latest news, information and upcoming show schedule.