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All Wet *


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Performer Notes
  • Ever since stumbling upon a freak hit in 1999 with the moronically catchy advert soundtrack "Flat Beat," Mr. Oizo (aka French film director Quentin Dupieux) has been one of dance music's most unlikely, even reluctant stars. He's never come close to attempting to replicate the single's success; his subsequent albums and EPs have been knotty, convoluted, and perplexing. They've also generally been exciting and innovative (albeit wildly inconsistent), and have influenced numerous schools of beatmakers. Oizo's sixth non-soundtrack full-length contains far more guests than anything else he's released, and while it might seem on the surface like he's making a delayed bid for commercial viability, one listen affirms that he's still playing by nobody's rules but his own. The majority of the tracks are under three minutes and they often consist of choppy disco samples set at midtempo. The most fractured piece is the minute-long "Oiseaux" (the correct spelling of his moniker is French for "birds"), which rapidly channel surfs between prog-fusion guitar, soul vocals, zippy disco strings, and other sounds. The most vocal-heavy song is "Freezing Out," which features Peaches doing her thing over a slow, bass-heavy groove collage that has some sort of Paul's Boutique/"Going Back to Cali" thing going on. "Hand in the Fire," Oizo's collaboration with pop star Charli XCX, appears near the end of the album, but it might as well be a completely different song than the version that was released as a single in 2015. While that one was a proper pop tune (a rarity in Dupieux's catalog if there ever was one), this take only uses a few lines of Charli's vocals before a stomping beat and siren-like EDM synths take over. He attempts to play it even straighter on "The End of the World," which starts out as a fun rave flashback before a blurry voice repeats "now it's gonna be exciting to watch the end of the world." Unfortunately, the track settles into a predictable dance beat after that and doesn't do much else. Then again, considering that the track was co-produced by Skrillex, it's a relief that it didn't end up being more obnoxious. Oizo fares much better when he's being his own twisted self. "Your Liver" continues his longstanding usage of cheeky computer voices, proposing "give me your liver and I'll give you my heart" over a vaguely industrial-ish beat. "Goulag Drums" is a head-spinner with fast, metallic drums diced with precision. "No Tony" is a venture into French rap, with a sunny, lighthearted lyric saying something about pepperoni pizza over a very MF Doom-like beat. All Wet will undoubtedly confound anyone who might still be expecting another "Flat Beat" out of Oizo (although most of those people probably stopped paying attention ages ago), or any EDM fans curiously tuning in because of the track with Skrillex. For anyone who shares Dupieux's warped sense of humor and has been eagerly following his career, this is yet another fascinatingly weird Mr. Oizo album. ~ Paul Simpson
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