Mr. Oizo – All Wet
Mr. Oizo (pronounced muhs-yir wa-zoh) is a house music producer, from Paris, France. Fun fact: he is also the director of the cult-classic movie “Rubber”, which is about a murderous car tire. This is his sixth full-length LP and his second under Brainfeeder Records. The hype for this album came in a video featuring Flying Lotus dressed as Skrillex and a talking mask that definitely falls into the uncanny valley. The features in this album look amazing, easily the most recognizable features in any of his albums, including Skrillex, Charli XCX, Boys Noize, Siriusmo, Mocky, Phra, Tetanos, and Peaches. After seeing the hype video, listening to the single “End of the World”, and seeing a track on the tracklist called “Oiseaux” (a play on how people usually pronounce his name) I was pretty excited to hear this album.
In the past, I have listened to a lot of Mr. Oizo’s work, especially the Lambs Anger EP and I must admit: Mr. Oizo is a weird, acquired taste. If you listen to a lot of his work, you understand that through what he produces, there are going to be a lot of delightfully weird sound effects. All Wet is no exception to this rule.
Songs like “Ruhe”, “All Wet”, and “Sea Horses” reminded me of the old Oizo. “Ruhe” had that feel of running, and the initial drop of the song sent shivers down my spine. This along with the sample that goes like “bubupp”, makes this song get my heart racing and my head bobbing. The title track “All Wet” juggles a bunch of different elements and beats at the same time, and makes it work cohesively together without at all attacking the senses or feeling overbearing. “Sea Horses” achieves a balance very well, as it is able to mix the very low distorted vocal samples with the higher pitched synths in the foreground.
The album features three guest vocalists, who are showcased in three respective tracks Peaches, Phra, and Charli XCX perform on “Freezing Out”, “No Tony”, and “Hand in the Fire” respectively. This is not the first time that Mr. Oizo has had vocal features on his record; on Lambs Anger “Steroids” and “Two Takes It” had them, but those seem to be isolated incidents given how infrequently he usually works with vocalists. These three songs on All Wet are the first time since Lambs Anger that Mr. Oizo used a vocal feature in an LP, and these feel hit or miss to me. While “No Tony” seems to bring in Phra’s vocals and use them well with the instrumentation and the funky guitars, Charli XCX seems to be copy-pasted onto a beat that has no flow with how she is singing. Finally, “Freezing Out” has ridiculous lyrics even though they add to the overall charm of the individual song.
Overall, I think that this album was slightly more tame than previous efforts. Looking at some of the crazier songs that he has produced in the past (i.e. “Smoking Tape”, “Miaaaw”, “Bruce Willis is Dead”, “Positif”, “France7”, “Ham”, “Mass Doom”, Etc.) you can’t really see any of the songs on All Wet as real heavy electronic tracks with big drops, which seems to be a departure from his previous, seemingly violent, style. In this album, I don’t feel as if he unleashed his usual fury into a couple of songs; the most we got was in the drop of “Ruhe”. The average level of intensity is basically the single that was put out, “End of the World”, but it seems less like a ruff and tumble drop like previous records, rather a continuation of an already seemingly poppy song. I think that Mr. Oizo decided to compromise some of the weirder aspects of his music for the sake of relative popularity. Don’t get me wrong, the weird Mr. Oizo charm is still there, it is just hidden by some of his featured artists.
Favorite and least favorite tracks:
Favorites: “Ruhe”, “All Wet”, and “Sea Horses”
Least favorites: “The One You Buy”, “Hand in the Fire”, and “Chairs”