Album Reviews Music

Musical Advent Calendar #4! King Krule – The OOZ

Before there was ‘The OOZ’, Archy Marshall laid down his foray into multiple genres and creative explorations within his various artistic pseudonyms. These have ranged from the jazzy hip-hop experiments with his monikers DJ JD Sports and Edgar the Beatmaker, to the subdued and dark post-dubstep of his project ‘A New Place 2 Drown’, released under his real name. However, none of these projects have resonated quite as well as that of King Krule. The first album, under this alias, was 2013’s ‘6 Feet Beneath the Moon’. At just 18 years old, Archy had created a sonic landscape that contained within it a cold,urban atmosphere. His long-awaited follow-up, ‘The OOZ’ delves even deeper into his mind, and brings back with it, and even more comprehensive blending of genres.

It’s been four years since his first album, but even so, Archy is still young, and still surprises listeners. ‘The OOZ’ demonstrates an even greater experimentation with jazz than ‘6 Feet Beneath the Moon’, and does so while introducing elements of punk also. Nowhere is this more evident than on songs like ‘Dum Surfer’ and ‘Half Man Half Shark’. Both of which are built upon a driving post-punk groove, which become decorated by scattered saxophone wails.

‘The OOZ’ is a long album. Clocking it at just over an hour, it could, and has, been accused of a level of self-indulgence. But the richness of the sounds, that leap between post-punk energy, and the soft, almost lounge music evoking, sounds of the deep jazz cuts like ‘Logos’, make for an immersive experience. It’s length also allows Archy to really experiment with the range in sounds found on the album. As immersive as it is, there is a quality of dissonance and absence that helps paint an image of Archy’s mental state during the making of the album. On ‘Sublunary’, he sings “I’m not here” through a distorted microphone. He presents himself as someone who feels alienated, someone out in space. It’s no surprise then that you see songs with titles like “Emergency Blimp” and “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)” on the album. Archy is concerned with the withdrawn figure, out alone in the infinite emptiness of space and the unknown depths of the ocean. He even expresses a feeling being “lost in space” on ‘Cadet Limbo’.

Archy is also undoubtedly concerned, as he has been in the past, with the colour blue. For him, as it is traditionally within art, blue is symbolic of loneliness, something obvious form the song “Lonely Blue”, in which Archy discusses his loneliness and depression. The album cover is also an image of a solid sky blue, with a small plane soaring through the vastness of the sky. This seems very much representative of Archy’s alienation and solitude. The colour blue is also a traditional aesthetic found in the Jazz genre, from its roots in Blues music, to Miles Davis’s Jazz staple ‘Kind of Blue’, and so thisworks well into Archy’s more ambitious forays into Jazz on the album.

Ultimately, though, ‘The OOZ’ succeeds most in its richness in sound, and immersive style. It’s both Archy’s most complex and mature album to date. There is evidence of scattered unorganised elements, with its length and range in sounds. But despite this, the listener can relish in its pure hypnotic nature, one that is engaging, both in mood and the journey it takes you on.

Josh Ellis


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