Boomkat Product Review:
Aude Van Wyller’s astonishing debut album as Oï les Ox is a sprawling, kaleidoscopic, hour-long thrill-ride through intricate, interwoven and hugely ambitious styles that reminds us of the minimalist pop perfection of Broadcast’s 'Tender Buttons’, the percolating spectral brilliance of Stereolab’s ‘Dots & Loops’, as well as Trevor Duncan’s enveloping La Jetée soundtrack and the plaintive songcraft and steepled organ refrains of Julia Holter’s masterpiece ’Tragedy’. Basically - it’s a lot - easily one of the most ambitious, layered and rewarding avant-pop albums we’ve heard in an age.
Originally released on a limited cassette edition last year, 'Crooner qui coule sous les Clous’ (translation: A crooner that sinks under nails) finally gets a vinyl airing via The Death Of Rave. The hour-long, four part album revolves around a libretto written by the Brussels-based artist in her native French, and performed in shapeshifting guises, all set to incredibly crystalline yet mercurial synth arrangements and endlessly unwinding drum programming. It encompasses nods to everything from coldwave to chamber music, æther folk, chanson and synth-pop in the most beguiling style, all woven together by a spellbinding vocal presence and needlepoint arps that patently place her music in a familiar, but exceedingly rare, other dimension.
Across its four parts, field recordings elide with original synthesis and multiple vocal personas to spell out a flux of fleeting emotions with breathtaking subtlety and sensuality, riddled with melodic ohrwurms. Each part contains an album’s worth of ideas, persistently altering the scenery, lighting and style with inimitable deftness between passages of lilting songcraft, sound collage, and electronic abstraction that betrays a keen reading and transmutation of classic and contemporary vernacular into a singular, cinematic/operatic whole.
’Crooner qui coole sous les clous’ arrived on a limited cassette run last year like a dream, quickly becoming a go-to album that totally absorbed and distracted us from the needling ambient anxieties outside. Fast forward a year later, and its life-affirming expression of modern eeriness continues to reveal new facets each time we play it - leaving us with a surreal, uncanny feeling that’s dead hard to shake once experienced. Basically, it’s one of those records. Don’t miss it eh?