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This 18-year-old Mainer recorded his new album entirely on an iPhone

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While checking out some of the recent new releases from Maine music makers for this week’s cover story, I auditioned a unique project from an artist with the unusual moniker Ego Orb. I was initially drawn to the cover art which reminded me of the satirical illustrations John Lennon created to accompany the two books of wordplay he published in the mid-1960s.

“Oh Oh Ah Ah” is an album of offbeat electronic pop with surreal stream of consciousness lyrics that recall some of Monty Python’s more bizarre audio offerings. Come to find out, Ego Orb is the nom de plume for 18-year-old Glenburn resident Ian Buck. I was more than a little surprised to discover that his latest project was recorded entirely on his iPhone.

During an interview, Buck revealed that he’s been recording his own music for about five years but only recently decided to make it public. “Oh Oh Ah Ah,” and some of his earlier work, is available on digital platforms under the name Ego Orb. He says the name refers to a character in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System RPG “EarthBound.”

Buck is a John Bapst graduate with plans to continue his education this fall at King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he says he’ll major in creative writing. Of that choice in majors, the self-deprecating Buck asks and answers a question.

“As job propositions go, will that land me in a Starbucks? Yes. Will that land me in a good Starbucks? You bet.”

Buck says he knows he has much to learn about music, but he already shows great promise with “Oh Oh Ah Ah.”

A decade ago, UK alt-rock duo Gorillaz made news by releasing an album recorded entirely on an iPad but to record only using your phone? Buck says it was actually easy with help from GarageBand digital audio workstation.

The songs of Ego Orb/Buck contain unusual dreamlike imagery and a potpourri of musical styles, including “Con Con-Rad (Grilling the Wood)” which takes inspiration from his love of the music of Talking Heads and the evil-pop of Lemon Demon and Gary Numan.

“Everything you hear, other than my voice, is a different keyboard playing different sounds,” he says, adding that his songwriting method varies.

“Some songs began with a chord structure, others started with a riff,” Buck says, adding that some tracks lived purely as instrumentals before he decided to introduce lyrics. He says he’s taking a more traditional tack when it comes to composing music for his next album which he says will be based on the concept of a 17-course French dinner.

Buck has a theatre background which is evident in his strong, dramatically delivered vocals, some of which are exaggerated for comedic effect. He says he recorded his vocals between sneeze attacks in the middle of allergy season, some of them on his front lawn to capture natural ambiance. Even with allergies, it’s clear that his voice is a strong suit.

Buck classifies his music as post-punk alt-pop and says he can hear considerable growth in the music he’s recorded over the last five years.

“A lot of people who’ve heard my music think that it’s going to be something big,” Buck says, although he’s not banking on that just yet. “I’d like to think so, but I personally don’t think it will happen anytime soon.”

“Oh Oh Ah Ah” by Ego Orb is available on all digital platforms, including iTunes and Spotify.

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 August 2021 07:28

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