The main differences between Dave Aju’s Open Wide and Bjork’s Medulla are twofold and related: First, that you can tell that Bjork’s album is almost totally a cappella a lot easier than you can tell Aju’s album is sourced from nothing but his own mouth. And secondly, Aju is making techno, not art rock. Which means Open Wide isn’t just a novelty, to be sure, but it’s hard not to wish the one-man-sound-source aspect of the album was a little more apparent, or at least a little weirder.
Instead you get a perfectly competent, straightforward album that’s at its best on the lengthy, hypnotic “Crazy Place”. That song is sandwiched between the horny-ass “Bump” and the pulsing nostalgia of “First Love”, however, and both of those songs show that Aju works between when he opens his mouth for samples, not to add in spoken word bits on top of his songs. It’s quite amazing that something as cool sounding as “With You” came from one guy, however processed, but when the actual discernible vocals just won’t stop as you’re trying to listen to the song, you find yourself wanting Aju to shut his mouth, if only a little.