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10/12/2016 : XENO & OAKLANDER - Topiary

XENO & OAKLANDER

Topiary

MusicCD
MinimalNew wave
Ghostly International
10/12/2016, Didier BECU

EN

Hopefully we do not have to introduce Xeno & Oaklander on our pages. Ten years ago, the duo from Brooklyn played an important role in the minimal revival and the success story of Wierd Records. The label was a fresh wave in a sometimes too gray music landscape, although at the end of the day other record companies got the honor.

The same happened with Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride. After the milestone Sentinelle, copycats were everywhere while the focus on the original was lost. It almost lasted five years before the duo came up with a new album (Par Avion on Ghostly International). Two years later they are back on the same label with Topiary. Remarkable for this fifth album is that all vocals are sung by Liz, not that we mourn one second for that.

This album which was recorded in the Clubhouse Studio (the studio of Tom Tom Club) is another amazing piece of analogue synths and beats in all its variants. Marble is irresistible Euro Disco, Baroque beats you with his powerful beats back to the 80's, Palms comes close to techno, while the title track Topiary is almost pure Klaus Schulze.

Not many people will think Topiary is the best Liz and Sean made. It’s not, but they remain one of the best in their style. Perhaps nine tracks aren’t that much, eventually Xeno & Oaklander still impress.

Didier BECU
10/12/2016


NL

Hopelijk hoeven we je Xeno & Oaklander niet meer voor te stellen. Zo’n dikke tien jaar geleden stond het duo uit Brooklyn aan de wieg van de minimal revival, en speelde een belangrijke rol in het succesverhaal van Wierd Records. Het label bracht een frisse golf in het soms te grijze muzieklandschap, ofschoon het uiteindelijk andere platenmaatschappijen waren die met de eer gingen lopen.

Hetzelfde overkwam ook Liz Wendelbo en Sean McBride. Na de mijlpaal die Sentinelle toch was, rezen nadien de copycats als paddenstoelen uit de grond waardoor de aandacht voor het origineel verloren ging. Het duurde bijna vijf jaar vooraleer het duo met een nieuwe plaat kwam (Par Avion op Ghostly International). Twee jaar later zijn ze er op datzelfde label met Topiary. Opmerkelijk voor dit vijfde album is dat deze keer alle vocals door Liz worden gezongen, niet dat we daar ook maar één seconde over treuren.

Deze plaat die in de Clubhouse Studio (de studio van Tom Tom Club) werd opgenomen is alweer een fraai werkje van analoge beats en synths in al zijn varianten. Marble is onweerstaanbare Eurodisco, Baroque slaat je met zijn loeiharde beats terug de jaren 80 in, Palms neigt zelfs naar techno, de titeltrack Topiary is dan weer Klaus Schulze.

Niet veel mensen zullen Topiary als de beste van Liz en Sean beschouwen. Dat is hij ook niet, wel blijven ze één van de beste in hun stijl. Het mocht misschien best wat meer geweest zijn dan deze negen tracks, uiteindelijk maakt Xeno & Oaklander nog steeds indruk.

Didier BECU
10/12/2016


 

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