The Jazz Mann | Oxyd - The Lost Animals | Review | The Jazz Mann

Accessibility Menu

REVIEW

Oxyd - The Lost Animals Rating: 4 out of 5 Oxyd create a distinctive instrumental soundworld that draws on many influences.

Oxyd

“The Lost Animals”

(Onze Heures Onze – ONZ029

Alexandre Herer – Fender Rhodes, Julien Pontvianne – Tenor Sax, Olivier Laisney – Trumpet
Oliver Degabriele – Electric Bass, Thibault Perriard – Drums

Here is a recording that has been sitting for far too long in the ‘to do’ file. I’m indebted to Stephanie Knibbe, a one time London resident who has worked with the Vortex Jazz Club and the Loop Collective, but who has now returned to her native France, for forwarding it to me.

First released in March 2019 “The Lost Animals” is the fourth album release by the Paris based quintet Oxyd. The band was founded over a decade ago but as is usual in jazz its members are involved in a myriad of other projects, these ranging through jazz, rock, pop, contemporary classical, electronica, world music and more.

All of these influences inform the music of Oxyd, whose broadly ‘fusion-esque’ sound is sometimes reminiscent of contemporary New York jazz acts, with Herer naming drummer/composers Jim Black and John Hollenbeck as particularly significant sources of inspiration. I can certainly hear plenty of Black, notably his bands AlasnoAxis and Malamute, in Oxyd’s sound.

Another acknowledged influence is the quintet Kneebody, who share the same instrumental configuration. Personally I’m also reminded of UK ‘punk jazz’ acts such as Polar Bear and Dinosaur, plus the Danish quintet Girls In Airports. Electric era Miles Davis is another, more obvious, source of inspiration.

“The Lost Animals” appears on the Onze Heaurs Onze record label, the outlet for the creative output of the musicians’ collective of the same name founded in 2010 by Herer, Pontvianne and Laisney.

“The Lost Animals” is a loosely conceptual affair with the titles of the nine original instrumentals seemingly based on now extinct wildlife species (even I’ve heard of some of them), and acting as a timely reminder in these environmentally troubled times. The tunes are all composed and arranged collectively and some of the sounds from the album have been used in the soundtrack of the film “Le Dernier Homme”.

The album commences with the lengthy “Red Rail”, which combines atmospheric keyboard and trumpet led episodes with more forceful ensemble passages featuring Perriard’s dynamic rock influenced drumming. Herer, seemingly the group’s unofficial leader, conjures a remarkable range of sounds from his Fender Rhodes, his mastery of the instrument and its sonic capabilities sometimes reminding me of the great Craig Taborn. Laisney also impresses with his versatility on the trumpet, his sound ranging from gently piping atmospherics to more strident full on soloing.

“Sulu Bleeding-Heart” is shorter, but no less effective, with Rhodes, trumpet and tenor variously combining or jostling for supremacy above the rolling dynamics of Perriard’s drumming. Eventually things coalesce as the quintet slide into full on skronk mode with some powerful unison riffing.

Oxyd cool things down once more with the shimmering atmospherics of “Alaotra Grebe” as trumpet, tenor and ethereal Fender Rhodes gently intertwine above the sound of Perriard’s gently brushed drums. There’s a more extended solo from Herer as Perriard pick up the sticks and the tune gathers momentum, but by and large the mood here remains predominately reflective.

The atmospheric introduction to “Great Auk” incorporates the sound of a gamelan recorded by the group, but subsequently the music moves more squarely into Jim Black / Kneebody territory with Perriard’s supple, rock influenced drumming steering the music and with Herer’s keyboards still a vital component of the band’s sound. The two horns soar above the tumult of sound bubbling beneath. Herer then solos on Fender Rhodes before another passage of atmospherics leads to some chunky math rock riffing as the piece comes to a climax.

Maltese born Degabriele sets the pace for “Upward, Not Northward”, his electric bass groove acting as the fulcrum of the piece as he and Perriard lock in to form the pulse around which Herer, Pontvianne and Laisney drape swathes of melody. The rhythm team’s unstoppable momentum ensures that the music continues to grown in intensity, their almost motorik grooves having a compelling hypnotic effect. 

There are more overt gamelan sounds on the richly evocative “Tore” as they combine with long, drifting, almost subliminal but highly atmospheric horn lines. This is the sound of dawn in the rainforest.

More atmospherics at the commencement of “Quagga”, which later kicks into action with another propulsive and compulsive groove, supplemented by Herer’s quasi-orchestral keyboards and the unison melody lines of the horns. Later there’s a change of meter and a gentler dynamic, but the music remains compelling throughout.

The gamelan returns on “Pyrenean Ibex” as it combines effectively with Perriard’s colourful drumming to underpin Laisney’s haunting trumpet melody lines. Herer’s keyboards subsequently take on a fuller role as the momentum continues to build, with Laisney and Pontvianne combining effectively.

The album concludes with the atmospheric brooding of “Dusky Seaside Sparrow” with its wispy trumpet and saxophone melody lines scored by brushed drums and murky, sinister sounding keyboard textures.

On “The Lost Animals” Oxyd create a distinctive instrumental soundworld that draws on many influences. It’s undeniably a jazz record, but it deploys very few of the staples of the genre with the rhythms mainly drawn from the realms of adventurous rock music. Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Radiohead are all cited as influences on the band’s sound, but these are refracted through a jazz prism to produce music that is consistently interesting and absorbing. Oxyd are adept at varying moods and dynamics during the course of a single piece and they also make highly effective use of colour and texture with Herer, Laisney and drummer Perriard emerging as the most distinctive instrumentalists. Jim Black and Kneebody emerge as the most obvious parallels, two acts with substantial cult followings.

Oxyd’s music won’t be everybody, particularly dyed in the wool jazz purists, but I was personally very impressed by this album and enjoyed it a lot. With its broad range of influences the recording also has the potential to appeal to adventurous rock listeners.

I’d very much like to see this music performed live and Oxyd did play a couple of UK shows in Manchester and London in April 2019. On the evidence of this recording I think they’d be an ideal fit for the Parabola Arts Centre programme at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, particularly given that strand’s strong French connection. It would be good to see Oxyd there in 2020, perhaps with a London date at the Vortex tied in for good measure.

The Lost Animals

Oxyd

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Album Review

4 out of 5

The Lost Animals

Oxyd create a distinctive instrumental soundworld that draws on many influences.

Oxyd

“The Lost Animals”

(Onze Heures Onze – ONZ029

Alexandre Herer – Fender Rhodes, Julien Pontvianne – Tenor Sax, Olivier Laisney – Trumpet
Oliver Degabriele – Electric Bass, Thibault Perriard – Drums

Here is a recording that has been sitting for far too long in the ‘to do’ file. I’m indebted to Stephanie Knibbe, a one time London resident who has worked with the Vortex Jazz Club and the Loop Collective, but who has now returned to her native France, for forwarding it to me.

First released in March 2019 “The Lost Animals” is the fourth album release by the Paris based quintet Oxyd. The band was founded over a decade ago but as is usual in jazz its members are involved in a myriad of other projects, these ranging through jazz, rock, pop, contemporary classical, electronica, world music and more.

All of these influences inform the music of Oxyd, whose broadly ‘fusion-esque’ sound is sometimes reminiscent of contemporary New York jazz acts, with Herer naming drummer/composers Jim Black and John Hollenbeck as particularly significant sources of inspiration. I can certainly hear plenty of Black, notably his bands AlasnoAxis and Malamute, in Oxyd’s sound.

Another acknowledged influence is the quintet Kneebody, who share the same instrumental configuration. Personally I’m also reminded of UK ‘punk jazz’ acts such as Polar Bear and Dinosaur, plus the Danish quintet Girls In Airports. Electric era Miles Davis is another, more obvious, source of inspiration.

“The Lost Animals” appears on the Onze Heaurs Onze record label, the outlet for the creative output of the musicians’ collective of the same name founded in 2010 by Herer, Pontvianne and Laisney.

“The Lost Animals” is a loosely conceptual affair with the titles of the nine original instrumentals seemingly based on now extinct wildlife species (even I’ve heard of some of them), and acting as a timely reminder in these environmentally troubled times. The tunes are all composed and arranged collectively and some of the sounds from the album have been used in the soundtrack of the film “Le Dernier Homme”.

The album commences with the lengthy “Red Rail”, which combines atmospheric keyboard and trumpet led episodes with more forceful ensemble passages featuring Perriard’s dynamic rock influenced drumming. Herer, seemingly the group’s unofficial leader, conjures a remarkable range of sounds from his Fender Rhodes, his mastery of the instrument and its sonic capabilities sometimes reminding me of the great Craig Taborn. Laisney also impresses with his versatility on the trumpet, his sound ranging from gently piping atmospherics to more strident full on soloing.

“Sulu Bleeding-Heart” is shorter, but no less effective, with Rhodes, trumpet and tenor variously combining or jostling for supremacy above the rolling dynamics of Perriard’s drumming. Eventually things coalesce as the quintet slide into full on skronk mode with some powerful unison riffing.

Oxyd cool things down once more with the shimmering atmospherics of “Alaotra Grebe” as trumpet, tenor and ethereal Fender Rhodes gently intertwine above the sound of Perriard’s gently brushed drums. There’s a more extended solo from Herer as Perriard pick up the sticks and the tune gathers momentum, but by and large the mood here remains predominately reflective.

The atmospheric introduction to “Great Auk” incorporates the sound of a gamelan recorded by the group, but subsequently the music moves more squarely into Jim Black / Kneebody territory with Perriard’s supple, rock influenced drumming steering the music and with Herer’s keyboards still a vital component of the band’s sound. The two horns soar above the tumult of sound bubbling beneath. Herer then solos on Fender Rhodes before another passage of atmospherics leads to some chunky math rock riffing as the piece comes to a climax.

Maltese born Degabriele sets the pace for “Upward, Not Northward”, his electric bass groove acting as the fulcrum of the piece as he and Perriard lock in to form the pulse around which Herer, Pontvianne and Laisney drape swathes of melody. The rhythm team’s unstoppable momentum ensures that the music continues to grown in intensity, their almost motorik grooves having a compelling hypnotic effect. 

There are more overt gamelan sounds on the richly evocative “Tore” as they combine with long, drifting, almost subliminal but highly atmospheric horn lines. This is the sound of dawn in the rainforest.

More atmospherics at the commencement of “Quagga”, which later kicks into action with another propulsive and compulsive groove, supplemented by Herer’s quasi-orchestral keyboards and the unison melody lines of the horns. Later there’s a change of meter and a gentler dynamic, but the music remains compelling throughout.

The gamelan returns on “Pyrenean Ibex” as it combines effectively with Perriard’s colourful drumming to underpin Laisney’s haunting trumpet melody lines. Herer’s keyboards subsequently take on a fuller role as the momentum continues to build, with Laisney and Pontvianne combining effectively.

The album concludes with the atmospheric brooding of “Dusky Seaside Sparrow” with its wispy trumpet and saxophone melody lines scored by brushed drums and murky, sinister sounding keyboard textures.

On “The Lost Animals” Oxyd create a distinctive instrumental soundworld that draws on many influences. It’s undeniably a jazz record, but it deploys very few of the staples of the genre with the rhythms mainly drawn from the realms of adventurous rock music. Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Radiohead are all cited as influences on the band’s sound, but these are refracted through a jazz prism to produce music that is consistently interesting and absorbing. Oxyd are adept at varying moods and dynamics during the course of a single piece and they also make highly effective use of colour and texture with Herer, Laisney and drummer Perriard emerging as the most distinctive instrumentalists. Jim Black and Kneebody emerge as the most obvious parallels, two acts with substantial cult followings.

Oxyd’s music won’t be everybody, particularly dyed in the wool jazz purists, but I was personally very impressed by this album and enjoyed it a lot. With its broad range of influences the recording also has the potential to appeal to adventurous rock listeners.

I’d very much like to see this music performed live and Oxyd did play a couple of UK shows in Manchester and London in April 2019. On the evidence of this recording I think they’d be an ideal fit for the Parabola Arts Centre programme at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, particularly given that strand’s strong French connection. It would be good to see Oxyd there in 2020, perhaps with a London date at the Vortex tied in for good measure.


blog comments powered by Disqus

JAZZ MANN FEATURES

Sunday at Wall2Wall Jazz Festival, Abergavenny, September 1st 2019.

Sunday at Wall2Wall Jazz Festival, Abergavenny, September 1st 2019.

The final day of the Festival and performances from Tango Jazz Quartet, Renewal Choir and Claire Victoria Duo.


Saturday at  Wall2Wall Jazz Festival 2019, Melville Centre, Abergavenny, 31/08/2019.

Saturday at Wall2Wall Jazz Festival 2019, Melville Centre, Abergavenny, 31/08/2019.

Ian Mann on live performances by the Alex Goodyear Bop Septet, Chube with Dennis Rollins, and the Sarah Gillespie Sextet, plus a screening of the Chet Baker biopic "Born To Be Blue".


JAZZ MANN RECOMMENDS