Mr Oizo - Stade 2 Album Review
The name Quentin Dupieux might not mean a lot to most folks reading this, but as the interminable Mr Oizo he's long established himself as a songwriter, musician, producer, DJ and film maker of considerable repute. Of course where us Brits are concerned, the Parisian Dupieux will be remembered as being responsible for introducing the "Flat Eric" puppet to the world via a 1999 jeans commercial. Nevertheless, despite the novelty value of 'Flat Beat' wearing off almost as soon as its one-dimensional techno beat subsided, its creator has been continually busy ever since, veering from one project to another with wistful abandon.
Although not exactly prolific in a musical sense at any rate; 'Stade 2' is only the fourth studio album under his Mr Oizo guise in over a decade; Dupieux has been busy writing and directing his first feature length screenplay 'Rubber' as well as collaborating with the likes of Justice and Uffie in the process. Indeed, for all the derision linked to his name via that Levi's advert many years ago he's commanded a successful career as a respected artist in his own right ever since. Having signed to Ed Banger Records in 2006, his music has also undergone something of a transformation, and it's perhaps notable that in a year where electronic sounds have bypassed those of the guitar like a gazelle racing a tortoise he's chosen to announce his comeback.
Comprising little over half-an-hour's worth of music in total; 'Stade 2' doesn't outstay its welcome at any point. Sure, there are elements where repetition is the key, and at times one wonders if Dupieux/Oizo secretly pines for a return to the late nineties hedonistic club scene that spawned him. Saying that, his technological approach to making music - he openly admits to preferring computers over traditional instruments due to them being easier to use - should not be overlooked and here there's more than enough substance to give some of the younger laptop brandishing newbies on the block a viable run for their money.
From the opening 'Introeil', where Oizo announces, "I just recorded some new stuff. I don't know what it is exactly but I love it" to the heavy duty big beat duo of 'Stade2' and 'Druide' that close the album, Dupieux's raison d'etre no longer aligned to selling millions of records or courting marketing agencies. If it ever were. Instead, 'Stade 2' feels like it was constructed purely as a labour of love, and as a result flows succinctly like any well-defined album should.
'Camelfuck' wouldn't sound out of place at a Dollop night in Stealth, while the provocative 'Douche Beat' and slightly aggressive undercurrent of 'Datsun' bring video games like 'Call Of Duty' to the surreal environment of a club. Elsewhere, the saxophone induced 'Oral Sax' brings an element of sleaze to the party while the brisk two-step of 'Pompe' adds a touch of youthful exuberance from the 37-year-old Dupieux, a sure sign that hyperactive teenagers never grow old.
Overall, 'Stade 2' may not redefine any techno sub-genres or be totally down with the kids like the increasingly annoying Dubstep phenomenon, but at least its master's integrity remains intact throughout. And ultimately, you can't ask for much more than that.