Eight new songs of sparkling electronics from duo Liz Wendelbo and Sean McBride (Martial Canterel) blur the lines between 60's French Pop, 80's wave and contemporary modular synth pop. Romantic and mythic, a dreamlike journey through dense harmonies and complex polyphonic compositions... As a musical act, Xeno & Oaklander conflate a rich love of analog synths, melody, and mythology with eloquent nuance and a nod to the heritage they draw from. While that construct is the duo's immediate kiss and crush, there’s a deeper importance to their collaboration which began in 2004. As evidenced in their debut Vigils (2004), McBride and Wendelbo's artistic dynamic is more than just a mutual love for electronics but a contrast between architectural precision and painterly expression. From the film scores to the traditional albums they've recorded in their Brooklyn studio, they've both spurred and fostered the global synth wave revival through a commitment to analog-only production and performance as well as a strident respect for the medium.
Ghostly International presents Xeno & Oaklander's new full-length album Topiary. In their fifth album to date, the Brooklyn based girl / boy electronic duo explores themes of arcana and electricity.
The title 'Topiary' refers to a highly ornamental hand sculpted garden such as Levins Hall in Cumbria UK or the stately grounds of Versailles. Pruned and fashioned into forms, shrubs and trees are turned into semblances of abstract and natural shapes - nature imitating nature, much to the delight of dreamers and romantics. The band, Sean McBride and Liz Wendelbo, views the album as a journey through the manifold hallways of electro magnetic architecture and enchanted landscapes.
The sound of Topiary is rich and deep; like a 60s French Pop album shot through a prism of late renaissance chamber music. Liz Wendelbo's voice seems haunted by ghosts of YeYe girls, Francoise Hardy's whispers set against a glorious backdrop of blaring synthetic horns and organs.
This summer, Brooklyn duo Xeno and Oaklander are a minimal electronics girl/boy duo from Brooklyn , bring their minimal electronic sounds to Ghostly International with new album Par Avion, their first for the label. The album's title is a reference to postcards - it translates as "by plane", and was used to mark airmail sent from exotic places. The songs are postcards of love for a cold age - shimmering moments from the present, romantic messages from the past, and love mementos for the future. Together, they make up an album of contrasts - the songs move from upbeat to downbeat, slow to fast, light to dark.
Wendelbo's whispery vocals are sung in both French and English, calling to mind Jane Birkin and FranÃ§oise Hardy. Again, there's a contrast between dark and light - the alluring, tropical warmth of Wendelbo's vocals is juxtaposed against duo's signature icy cold, ultra-modern synth sounds. Those sounds have a new component for Par Avion - synth wizard Sean McBride uses an analogue Serge modular synth to create washes ofsound that recall '90s shoegaze. The result is an album that stimulates and fascinates throughout, a rich feast for all the senses, a world to get lost in again and again.