Octavian Takes It Higher With ‘Spaceman’ Mixtape

All eyes have been on the next to rise in the ranks of the UK scene and Octavian has consistently shown us why he’s been the “one to watch”. His latest project ‘Spaceman’ goes further then ever before and may have quite possibly shown that he is “the one”.

Following last year’s ‘Essie World’, ‘Spaceman’ is a 14-track mixtape that showcases Octavian’s incredible talent and unique ability to blend sounds. Straight from it’s opener, ‘Scared’, you’re pulled into a deep cutting intro which echoes and glitches throughout. This interaction with conflicting sounds should give you audio nausea but Octavian knows how to take it to the edge, without ever going over. A perfect example of this is when tracks abruptly end [only 4 tracks clock in over the 3 minute mark], keeping you constantly engaged and never letting you fade. With genres such as rap, house, drill, and hip hop in equal measure, it’s clear that the 22 year old has crafted this project to his own personal vision.

While previous release, ‘Revenge’ is a stand out from the project, tracks like ‘Stand Down’ and ‘Here Is Not Safe’ are personal favorites as this is where you hear Octavian at his purest and rawest. His passion on the aforementioned tracks shines through the most and with ‘Stand Down’, he begins with a spoken word-esque declaration, encouraging people to look at the positives and spread the love; “Love knows no boundaries. Regardless of the situation. Turning my back is never an option. ‘Here Is Not Safe’ takes you on a personal journey in just 120 seconds, with the soundscape feeling like a maze that Octavian himself is trying to navigate through, battling conflicting noises and sounds.

Alongside Octavian himself, ‘Spaceman’ features an array of names on features – Suspect, A2, Swift, and Krimbo, while producers include Lil Silva, J-Rick, O12, Elevated and Amir Amor. All of the features lend their own positives to the project, usually by playing to their own strengths – whether it’s Suspect barking over a heavy bassed rap track  “stacks got me like a taller ni**a” or M20’s Krimbo tackling a drill beat with “step correct with that Rambo, barber man I’ll shave man’s afro“. ‘54321’ alongside Swift is a certified hit, building the pace up throughout until the pair let loose at the end with exhilarated and accelerated lyrics. It seems that Octavian genuinely cares about each track, allowing his collaborator to stamp their own sound on the track, while maintaining that key and core sound.

While the sky may seem like the limit, Octavian is aiming for the stars.

At times, it can feel that ‘Spaceman’ loses focus, with tracks like ‘Build’ and ‘Move Faster’ not having the same punch as its predecessors. With notable absences for previous releases ‘Party Here’ and ‘Little’, Octavian has not relied on his past but these additions could have maintained the pace by giving additional scope to the project as a whole. Another downside to the project is the tracklist as a whole – with Octavian seemingly the type to put detail into everything – the running order doesn’t quite add up. While tracks like ‘Think Twice’ (feat. A2) could have served well in the first third, to have it as the closing track leaves you unfulfilled, but in a modern day shuffle generation, it’s unlikely that will be the biggest problem.

With his debut album on the horizon, Octavian has certainly whet the appetite for those listening, his project is both experimental but with meticulous craft and detail on each of it’s offerings. Each of his features play perfect supporting roles and Octavian is left to shine in his moment. While it may not have been his intention, the project helps us know more about him, whether it be through his spoken intros to some tracks or his eclectic use of sounds and genres. ‘Spaceman’ is likely to be looked upon fondly as the project that helped take Octavian to his next level.

While the sky may seem like the limit, Octavian is aiming for the stars.

Rating: 4/5 ****