"Oizo's beats are the wounded and the crippled ones that every other house producer has rejected. Released from the beatbox of the abandoned, these beats are so off-kilter that they verge on arrhythmia. Yet, they limp along with such determination that they eventually form a steady pattern. But often as not, it's the clanks and the stabs of bruised white noise that provide the anchor for each track."

Paul Cooper2

Mr. Oizo (pronounced "wah-zoh," not "oy-zoh") is the electronica moniker of 25-year-old award-winning French director/producer Quentin Dupieux.

Dupieux directed the three Levi's Jeans ads starring Flat Eric, with one of his tracks ("Flat Beat") as the background music. It all started when DJ Laurent Garnier bought a car from Dupieux's father.3 After making a film for Garnier's "Crispy Bacon" (later, he also did videos for "The Hoe" and "Flashback") and releasing his second EP under the name Mr. Oizo on Garnier's label, F Communications, he made another film for the EP featuring the first incarnation of Flat Eric (a puppet named Stephan) dancing around.3 This film ended up in the offices of Levi's ad agency (Bartle Bogle Hegarty), and soon enough, Flat Eric had been commissioned and Dupieux was at work creating his first ad for Levi's.3 The attention garnered by the hugely successful ads convinced F-Com to let Mr. Oizo release a full-length album, which he called Analog Worms Attack. Since then, he has not gained much more attention but remains a solid favorite among old fans.

The style presented in Mr. Oizo's work can't be explained by one or two genre descriptions, but Dupieux himself calls it "dirty house."5. Thick, bassy beats pound through crackling and distorted 'melodies' and sparse but well-done scratch sessions by DJ Feadz (Fabien Pianta).6 The music itself is not extremely complicated, but it sounds thick — as if, with just a few channels, effects, and a little bit of sampling, Mr. Oizo has breathed life and soul into electronic music. Analog Worms Attack, his only full-length release, is somehow a playful album, despite "spiky, creeping, downright disfigured grooves":2 the intro to "Flat 55" features a heavily looped-and-scratched vocal track saying something like "making me shit, I guarantee it; if you really like to rock the funky shit, the king of the shit's gonna rock the shit" but is a bouncy (albeit very bassy), catchy tune. The album was described by one listener as "industrial experimental electro noize instrumental flip hop,"1 by a critic as the newest and best thing to happen to French house,2 and by another critic as "like Daft Punk on Quaaludes and nitrous."4

Discography:1

  • 1997: #1 EP, 12" and CD (F Communications [France])
  • 1998: M-Seq EP, 12" (F Communications [France])
  • 1999: M-Seq EP, CD (F Communications [France])
  • 1999: Flat Beat EP, CD (F Communications [France])
  • 1999: Analog Worms Attack, CD and two-disc LP (F Communications [France])
  • 1999: Flat Beat EP, CD and 12" (three versions) (F Communications [Europe, two versions], No Disc [Italy, 12" only; B-side by Rush Team and Inshape])
  • 1999: Analog Worms Attack EP, 12" (Family Affair [Italy])
  • 1999: Flat Beat/Monday Massacre single, CD (Vidisco [Portugal])
  • 1999: Analog Worms Attack, CD (Mute Corporation [USA])
  • 1999: Flat Beat EP, 12" (F Communications [France])
  • 1999: Analog Worms Attack EP, 10" (F Communications [France])
  • 1999: Flat Beat EP, CD (F Communications [France])
  • 2000: Last Night a DJ Killed My Dog, two-disc 12" (F Communications [France])
  • 2000: Last Night a DJ Killed My Dog, CD (F Communications [France])
  • 2004: Stunt single7
  • ?: Untitled EP, 12" (no label)

(I find it interesting to note that the French pronunciation of "oizo" is similar to that of "oiseau" (which means "bird") and "oiseux" (which means "unsatisfactory" or "lazy"). This appears to have nothing to do with anything.)


References:
1: Discogs: http://www.discogs.com/artist/Mr._Oizo
2: Pitchfork Media: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/m/mr-oizo/analog-worms-attack.shtml
3: No strings attached: http://www.guardian.co.uk/eric/Story/0,2763,209720,00.html
4: Bastimore City Paper Online: http://www.citypaper.com/2000-03-29/trax3.html
5: Pop Matters: http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/m/mrozio-analog.html, but don't bother reading this review... pop doesn't matter.
6: REVIEW: http://www.westnet.com/consumable/2000/04.19/revoizo.html
7: mkb

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