Q (UK) - - 10 Commandments - JAZZ MON­ROE

As Lon­don streets darken, it’s re­as­sur­ing to hear house, grime and Afrobeats whis­per­ing promises of eternal sum­mer from car win­dows. For Oc­ta­vian though, the cap­i­tal’s dis­parate sound­track is insufficient: he wants to hear ev­ery­thing at once. With R&B mix­tape Space­man, the 22- year-old fuses all of the above, rasp­ing melan­choly hooks over shad­owy pop beats and club bops. It leav­ens ten­sion with fleet­ing eu­pho­ria, while tak­ing aim at a wave of what he sees as medi­ocre pop-rap­pers who cap­i­talise on trends (“on money, re­ally,”) with­out push­ing new sounds. Raised be­tween Cam­ber­well and North­ern France, Oc­ta­vian grew up a “mad kid” with a mum con­vinced mu­sic would lead to poverty. Telling his fam­ily he could flour­ish out­side the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, he says, was “like telling them Santa Claus doesn’t ex­ist.” As a sec­ondary-school dropout, he taught at a com­mu­nity arts cen­tre. “I love teach­ing the dis­abled,” he re­calls, “but the the­atre side, I didn’t like.” He en­dured more of this at the Brit School, the per­form­ing arts col­lege where he went next. “I wasn’t from that world],” he says, “I didn’t know what a mu­si­cal was.” Un­em­ployed af­ter leav­ing, he “risked it all” writ­ing songs. Af­ter try­ing un­suc­cess­fully to make head­way, his last hope was Party Here, a haunted an­them recorded with pro­ducer J Rick. “You’re gonna blow, it’s just tim­ing,” Oc­ta­vian rasps – and he did. “We want to ex­pand,” he adds, “and not be con­fined.” Be­ing con­fined doesn’t look like it will be a prob­lem: Ocat­vian’s mu­sic points to a glo­ri­ous world with­out rules.

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