Album Review: Rob Hailman – System OK

When it comes to Record Production Month, Rob Hailman, local folk musician and member of gonzo blues-rockers No Pussyfooting, can always be counted on to present something equally playful and thoughtfully constructed.

Rob-Hailman---System-OK - CopyThis year, Hailman presents an exercise in contrasts. System OK is centred around the chiptune soundtrack of an 8-bit video game—with its oddly angular, lurching, yet joyously poppy sound. Hailman’s vocals lay on top—strangely flat, tuneless, and almost inorganically droning in contrast with the flitting soundtrack underneath. But what really elevates the album is the unxpected touches of jazzy, groovy guitar, snaking effortlessly among the other layers.

Perhaps most surprisingly, all these contrasting elements don’t clash, but rather each fills out a different area of the sonic palette, making for a rather full sound that still feels unmistakably homemade and charming.

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Rob Hailman’s System OK is available for purchase on Bandcamp.


Images courtesy the artist.

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Gabe Pollock

Gabe Pollock

Gabe Pollock is Editor-in-Chief of Electric City Magazine. He is a Peterborough-born freelance writer and editor who has covered Peterborough music and culture since 2012, first on Electric City Live and now in its magaziney successor.