Archy Marshall’s The Ooz remains one of the finest and best musical expressions of an artist’s loneliness and depravity. We revisit it to remind ourselves just how Marshall created such a masterpiece of gloom.
Who is Archy Marshall?
London–born musician Archy Marshall (who uses many monikers for his music, including King Krule, ZOO Kid and Edgar the Breathtaker) released The Ooz back in October 2017. It was met with exceptional praise from critics and fans alike, and it still remains one of the finest and best musical expressions of an artists’ loneliness and depravity.
For those not in the know, Archy Marshall is an artist of extremes. His large back catalogue of songs push the idea that we survive in a filthy, deprived world. The Ooz takes this further and is an album unlike many others. It is overpoweringly lonely in nature. Even the artwork on the cover hints at this– a lone vapour trail over a blue sky.
How The Ooz stands out in the indie world
The best way to sum up the album would be somewhere between dark jazz and trip hop. Even then, that does not define The Ooz as a whole. One minute your ears are akin to a post-punk sound, but in an instant the sound is all at once the sound reminiscent of something completely different. Marshall has outdone his previous works here and created something truly unique. He produced this album in a way that makes it impossible to contextualize. It is a standalone album amongst a sea of other indie albums.
Marshalls’ lonesome and uncomfortable persona is equally as present in his lyricism. He lounges around in the obscurity of his music. His voice sometimes sounds drowsy and in a state of deep isolation, distant from the listener. But yet again the paradox is present. In other times Marshall pipes up in an almost crying out state, something that creates panic and a fantastic sense of disorientation.
The track Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver) layers this drowsy sound over a more jazz oriented backing. The track is almost barren at times, and this mixes perfectly with Marshall’s chosen tone as he says in a half-awake state “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression?”. It is lyrics like these that make Marshall’s tracks more relatable for the listener.
The Ooz is not only one of the richest examples of Marshall’s voice, but also his instrumental production. The sound is a paradox of the norm – there is a raw warmth that wraps you into the dark world of Marshall. However, that warmth is often replaced with a distortion that is seductively uncomfortable. It is very difficult to describe.
On paper it should sound extremely disturbing and unpleasant. The warm and muted out-of-key saxophone created by the genius of Ignacio “Galgo” Salvadores on Cadet Limbo. The keys that tremble and distort wickedly amongst tracks such as Logos. Not to mention the blunt basslines put down everywhere in between all create a soundscape that is delightfully devilish.
It is clear to see why The Ooz still resonates and why nothing else has come close to it. If you have still not listened, now is the time to stop reading and listen to the full 66 minutes by one of the most compelling living artists.