Jonathan Ogden has been around for a decade on the Christian music scene. Most people are more familiar with his band, Rivers & Robots, a worship collective based in England that creates music which covers a wide spectrum of alternative sounds—indie rock, indie pop, baroque pop, indie-folk etc.
Ogden has already shown his love for concept albums/projects between 2017 and 2018, when he realised the Seasonal Project—a collection of EPs titled Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
The Twenty Four (Beat Tape) is a collection of 24 tracks with timestamps and titles covering all the hours of the day from 7:00 AM to 6:00 AM. It is an instrumentally heavy project that shifts between Indietronica, Lo-fi and ambient soundscapes.
Clocking in at 54 minutes, 34 seconds; all the songs on this project are quite short. Still, some stand-out tracks feature Ogden’s soothing vocals and Scripturally inspired lyrics.
On 10:00 More, Ogden sings about the challenges of the daily work life while expressing a desire to not ‘chase the wind’ or ‘build temporary things’ but to keep his eyes focused on God. The instrumental loops, slick beat and lush keyboards on this song are gorgeous.
12:00 Daydreaming is a simple and effective Lo-Fi hip-hop tune as Ogden sings, “Teach me how to number my days/Walking in wisdom/Show me the way/’Cause you’ve set eternity deep in the heart of me”.
He(Ogden) reminds us about God’s presence on 15:00 Guiding Light and 18:00 Golden Hour instilling a consciousness of this presence all around us through beautiful imagery.
19:00 Listen stands out on the project because it’s the only acoustic song on it. It’s folky, serene and very soothing.
22:00 Where Could I Go is a testament to the unending love of Christ. No matter where we run or hide, God’s love will always find us. There is no better reminder of this truth on this album outside this track.
I would be doing this project a disservice if I do not highlight some of the instrumental tracks. 14:00 Shinjuku, 20:00 Night to Night, 00:00 Midnight, 02:00 Rain on the Hillside, 03:00 Mysteries and 05:00 Rotations are some of the best samples, loops, piano ballads and ambient compositions that I have listened to in quite some time.
Conceptually, my favourite thing about this album is its fluidity. At no point on this project does it feel like Jonathan Ogden is trying to define what every hour of the day should feel like. This would have been an impossible task because we all have different experiences in our daily lives.
Instead, this album is cocktails of tunes that fit into different moods and emotional states. From the sober and calm, to the energetic and joyful; all the songs seem to carry a singular message—the importance of God’s presence in daily living.
Twenty Four certainly lives up to its name and the ambition of the project. It’s a relaxing and comfortable journey with beautiful gems along the way.