Originally released on the renowned F.Com records in 2005 this album has achieved a sort of notoriety as the reason that Mr Oizo (Quentin Dupiex) left the label. Six years later Flying Lotus’s label Brainfeeder are releasing what they consider a lost a classic on limited edition vinyl.
As Steve Ellison of Brainfeeder puts it:
The original label that put it out thought (and said) it was unlistenable at the time, they didn’t quite believe in it, but it was way ahead of its time. It’s an honour for Brainfeeder to re-release this record, it’s one of the most inspiring electronic records ever made.
But does it really stand the test of time?
Between the miasma of cuts there is a sense of purpose to this record. Half the tracks on Moustache feature broken rhythms and sound in places like a hacked Speak and Spell sampled over someone spinning a radio dial at random. This was not a record destined to fill commercial club floors. Yet, for the condescending musical obscurist this makes the record all the more rewarding for its challenging premise.
Arguably angry sounding, straightbeat offerings like ‘Stunt’ give the emotionally conservative French dance music oeuvre something they hadn’t had much at that point, a tactile ‘Fuck Off’ anthem. In fact the record as a whole is more cerebral than body shaking and there is a weird type of tension that comes from placing undeniably rocking musical sections within sounds and textures that venture off the chart of familiar and comfortable.
Using your imagination you can think of Moustache as a template that would push Breakdancing to invent new forms. As there are a lot of retro-electro elements included here and while the palette of 808 samples aren’t processed much beyond their factory settings the way they are programmed was both startling and original. The shapes necessary to stay on top of this music would be awesome to watch and trippy to think about.
Putting the record in context of what else was going on in 2005 it doesn’t seem particularly unusual (See Jason Forrest and Duran Duran Duran) and whether 5 years is enough time to declare something a classic is a matter of debate. Where Moustache succeeds is in mixing some serious head-nod grooves with clever noise manipulation. The abstractions and abrasive sections make it feel exclusive and uncompromising without losing a sense of quality, you feel smarter listening to it and that alone qualifies it as worthy of wider appreciation.
Release 2011 (re-release of F.Com2005)
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle