In 2021, YEDM did a New Artist Spotlight on Portlander experimental artist Jason Wann and his conceptual project SINES which, at that time, was on its third multi-track release. Through that album, called A Series of Moments, Wann combined all the best bits of synth pop and gave them a modern twist with dabbles of female vox accompaniments and different beat structures. Not afraid to play with future bass, techno, bass house and, of course, vintage synth pop, SINES shows great promise to be the next Odesza or Washed Out hybrid.
Not a lot of fans or press, for that matter, knew that between all the lovely and celestial synth pop releases, Wann was also interstitially releasing under a different project name called Blood Oyster. Almost completely opposite in every way from SINES, Blood Oyster is entrenched in booty bass, hip hop and trap with an emphasis on ‘booty.’ The aptly named Let Booty Loose featuring rapper Honey B. Sweet released in April 2021 followed by the even dirtier Pussy Power in October while Wann and SINES music partner Kitty Richardson were working on A Series of Moments. It must have been a colossal brain toggle for Wann.
Designed as a tongue-in-cheek nose-thumbing at the patriarchy and its need to control women’s bodies, Blood Oyster is about as intentionally nasty as a 2LiveCrew or a WAP with track names like “From the Back” and “Throbbing Hard Penis.” As these ironic statement EPs that are seemingly about objectification were being made, Wann was becoming more and more frustrated with the way women are either exploited or repressed over the last few years. This frustration culminated, as it did for so many Americans, in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in June of 2022. Seen by many as the ultimate and most blatant sign that the US not only doesn’t care about bodily autonomy for women and people with uteruses, this decision, made possible by the ushering in of two new far right wing SCOTUS justices before the end of Donald Trump’s presidential has unleashed a wave of states winding back the clock to pre-1973 rules and regulations. States banned abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood, made even early term abortions illegal (including in cases of rape) and some states even made it possible for parents who went through with an abortion to be tried for murder.
With the dystopian nightmare described in Margaret Atwood’s fictional book The Handmaid’s Tale suddenly turned reality and Atwood a prophetess thanks to Brett Kavanaugh and especially ultimate Gilead Wife Amy Coney Barrett, loads of artists decided to protest what has now been going on in the US for just about a year. Along with the likes of Pussy Riot, Phoebe Bridgers, Kendrick Lamar, Olivia Rodrigo, Mariah Carey, Lizzo et al., Wann felt he couldn’t leave this issue alone. Suddenly a cheeky commentary on how women are used in media and abused in private turned into an all-out protest with Greatest Hits. Full of tracks from the original two Blood Oyster EPs plus heaps more, the 30-track Greatest Hits makes a bold statement that no matter what sort of laws are places on them, women’s bodies self-worth an sexuality will always be owned by them.
Wann as Blood Oyster makes this statement in the most fun way possible, with loud, colorful booty bass beats, unapologetic lyrics and so many catchy tunes. Be careful; you could find yourself singing the Daft Punk-esque “ASS” in your head at work or laughing at the somehow both sexual and creepy “Everybody Loves Raymond” at inappropriate times. This whole “series of bootlegs” is inappropriate, of course, but that’s the point. A tapestry of impropriety woven with much more experimental music and flare than we’ve seen from Wann thus far, the album juxtaposes the pure sensual potential of women and humanity against some of its worst detractors so show what this oppression and control can actually do. With so many of our idols fallen and so much damage done in the name of propriety, it’s time to take a good hard look at rape culture; just ask “Dr. Huxtable.”
As if the Blood Oyster album weren’t enough, Wann has also put together an arty “series of visualizers” (who knew that album name would be such a fun callback?) to go with Greatest Hits. Because it’s a bootleg album, Wann has put the veritable movie up on his Vimeo account for free public viewing. Not quite as dirty visually as it is musically, the multimedia side of Greatest Hits takes the artistry of the album up a few notches. Watch it with some good speakers on a good TV and you’ve basically got yourself an at-home rave. Funny, kitschy and full of the love Wann has for women that listeners to the album alone may not feel, the visualizer movie is definitely worth a watch (possibly on some mind-altering substances).
Even if you’re into into booty bass or experimental bass or fun visualizers, there’s another reason to support Blood Oyster and the Greatest Hits album: all profits from its purchase on Bandcamp will be donated to Planned Parenthood in Amy Coney Barrett’s name. That’s right, in the tradition of Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and other anti-uterus rights politicians, Wann has decided that Coney Barrett should be the next recipient of this honor to be reminded every day that those who value the lives of women and children will continue to fight for their health. The link for the album is here (and also in the video above) but we also encourage fans of ladyparts everywhere to take up this petty (and important) cause and donate to the thing SCOTUS and so many other misguided politicians are trying to destroy. And if you don’t want to donate, have a cheeky, sexy little rave in your living room or car, courtesy of Blood Oyster.