Combo Qazam – Owls

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Album cover for Combo Qazam "Flight Music"

“Owls” explodes out of the speakers and rushes into your ears. The whole thing moves at about 190 beats per minute. It is exhilarating, yet there is a sense that everything will go terribly wrong if you blink at the incorrect moment. This sounds the way it feels to drive at 100 mph.

The intro unfolds over the first minute (the song is less than 3 minutes long), with layers of sound coming in and falling away before the guitars burst open at the 40-second mark. That release is cathartic, as if Combo Qazam has shown great restraint but cannot withstand the pressure any longer.

The vocals kick in at about one minute, and the harmony adds another layer to the soothing yet chaotic mix of sounds. That seems like an odd combination, but there truly is something soothing within the chaos. The song is fast and frenetic, yet you feel a bit calmer, a bit more peaceful as you sit in silence after it ends.

(I stumbled on “Owls” when I was searching for information on Spotify’s payment policy.)

About Chuck

Chuck is a lifelong music lover. He spent his 20s working as a professional musician before discovering he enjoys listening to music more than playing it. He knows a little bit about most genres, though electronic dance music, rock, and hip-hop are his favorites. Eleven albums/shows that transformed how he sees and hears the world (in order he encountered them): Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Van Halen Fair Warning; The Cure Standing on a Beach; John Coltrane Crescent; De La Soul Three Feet High and Rising; Puccini La Boheme (de los Angeles, Bjorling, Beecham); Everything but the Girl Walking Wounded; Carl Cox, Twilo, NYC, May 2000; Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.; Grateful Dead. Fillmore East, NYC, April 1971; Taylor Swift 1989.

3 thoughts on “Combo Qazam – Owls

  1. bobvinyl

    It took me a couple of listens to really get this one, but I think I do now and I like it. For me, the metaphor would be riding a bike and pedaling really hard to get up to speed and then flying down a hill then pedaling again to keep up the speed up. There is a frenetic nature to a lot of it that is like pedaling, but then there are these moments of relaxation that don’t slow down. They’re just a chance to enjoy the wind in your hair.

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  2. bobvinyl

    As I listen the rest of the record, there are other songs that also feel like riding a bike, but more like riding around the city where you have to keep up, but also look around the corners/angles. It’s kind of cool that your car metaphor led me to the bike metaphor and now I can hear that throughout the record. It’s a pretty good record. “Logorrhea” is pretty cool too and worth checking out if you have not listened to the whole thing.

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  3. Chuck Post author

    Interesting that you went to a bike metaphor because I was going back and forth between car and bike when I was writing this. I used to love to cycle in Manhattan. As a mode of transportation it was kind of a pain in the butt, but as a sport, it was exhilarating. I’d strap on my helmet and gloves, stick a whistle in my mouth, and see how fast I could make it from Central Park to Washington Square without getting hit or hitting anything. I remember eating a raw tomato from a farmer’s market in Union Square one afternoon after a few hours of riding, and that sense of peace and serenity amidst the chaos was very strong. That’s the other memory that came to mind after listening to “Owls.”

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