Mr. Oizo has been compared to Daft Punk, and there are certain similarities. Both use synthesizers and samplers to achieve a general sense of cuteness—and I am a sucker for cute—and both are from France. Both projects received attention for clever videos: Daft Punk’s debut release Homework sold like mad once Americans saw dancers in skeleton and mummy costumes getting down to the square beats of “Around the World.” Now Mr. Oizo (Quentin Dupieux) has entered our media bloodstreams with his advertisements for Levi’s jeans, featuring a puppet of Dupieux’s invention called Flat Eric, and the Mr. Oizo track “Flat Beat.” The differences between Mr. Oizo and Daft Punk are, however, numerous—for starters, four years between release dates. In the interim, the mainstream has been saturated with techno, which surfaced previously only as a rare aberration. Where Daft Punk work disco reconfigured for the millennium, Dupieux works in a genre he has dubbed “dirty house.”
It is slow, hard, and sludgy at times. Presumably, if the novelty of house and the potential of simulating farts with synthesizers have not worn off, a listener might enjoy Analog Worms Attack. Otherwise, start to finish, it sounds tired. Even the cutest moments are annoying: the tweaked toy sounds of “Flat Beat” are needlessly spiked with pops and clicks. The excessive use of cut-and-scratch effects does nothing interesting by way of technique. As such, the eighties hit “Pump Up the Volume” by MARRS sounds infinitely more modern than Mr. Oizo. Could that possibly be the point? Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, is Quentin Dupieux consecrating the phatness of house beats and the humor of gastrointestinal duress? The “Flat Beat” single sold over three million copies and hit number one on several European charts, which might explain why it was included as the bonus track to close out Analog Worms Attack. The fact remains, the record is boring. Sometimes, even cute isn’t enough.
// Notes from the Road
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