Belgian Artist, Oscar And The Wolf, Releases New Single and Self-Directed Accompanying Video
By Inge Colsen.
Belgian pop superstar Max Colombie, a.k.a. Oscar and the Wolf announces his new album The Shimmer, due 22nd October on [PIAS] Recordings. Along with the cover art and the 11-song tracklisting of his highly anticipated third album, Max also unveils the brand-new single “Oliver” and its self-directed accompanying video.
The sultry new single shows Max at the top of his game. A tropical beat welcomes Colombie’s sensual voice while an alluring guitar draws us further into his dreamworld. “Oliver” is a post-heatwave sundown set to shimmering synths with Colombie acting as a tantalizing snake charmer.
Commenting on his new track the singer replied with some off-kilter beat poetry: “Melancholic French riviera. I’m in a fantasy dreamworld, almost fiction. starweed purple haze. we seize the day, knowing we can’t stay here forever. falling in love mid-summer. love stoned. beautiful boy. swimming in crystal rivers deep as the sky. the sweat on his skin reflects like diamonds in the sun. carried away in an endless phantom. tall grass and lilies on the dining table. the boy looks like dynamite. the water is warm. flower fields and rose gardens. rich fruit. rushes of serotonin. never wanting to leave, never wanting to change, knowing one day, none of this will remain.”
The video, self-directed and starring the same characters as in the video for previous single “James”, sets matching images to the above stream of consciousness.
Enter Colombie’s world, and you’ll discover a uniquely dazzling and shimmering fusion of contemporary R&B and a more European electro-pop sensibility, uniting shivery melody, shifting beats and vocals steeped in drama, sensuality and yearning. Colombie hears, “a twilight zone where it doesn’t sound dark nor happy. It’s like the name Oscar and the Wolf; it’s a balance between light and dark, this perfect combination between the sun and the moon. It’s beautiful and scary at the same time.”
Oscar and the Wolf’s official debut, the 2012 EP Summer Skin, showed his gifts arrived virtually fully-formed, but he truly came of age in 2014 with his debut album Entity. Balanced between dancefloor anthems and slow jams, Entity went 4 times platinum in his native Belgium and quickly jettisoned Colombie to superstar status. He sold out arenas in Belgium and the Netherlands, taking the penultimate headlining slot (behind Muse) at 2016's Lowlands Festival before headlining Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival sharing the bill with Rihanna and LCD Soundsystem.
Released in 2017, the second Oscar and the Wolf album, Infinity went platinum at home, whilst amassing a huge Middle Eastern fanbase across Turkey (where his 2018 tour sold out inside minutes), Egypt, Israel and Iran. On stage, Colombie cut a commanding and lithe performer, often garbed in shimmering outfits that interacted with the dynamic lighting.
The new Oscar and the Wolf album The Shimmer distills the essence of Colombie’s sound and vision in its title and the image of Colombie on the album cover, bathed in starry light. The album is a benchmark of his transformation on record; whereas Entity was recorded in a barn, “very lo-fi with no access to gear,” he recalls, The Shimmer’s bold, rich and layered dynamics were captured at ICP Studios in Brussels, home to, “one of the best live rooms in Europe, with all this vintage gear.” More intimate moments were added at Colombie’s house outside the city, “those magic takes we made just after we’d written something, which are so hard to capture again.”
By “we”, Colombie includes producer Jeroen De Pessemier and multi-instrumentalist Ozan Bozdag, who had both worked on Infinity (and Bozdag on Entity too). “It’s a magical trio,” Colombie says. “Everyone is allowed to be themselves and to explore themselves. I’m really happy with The Shimmer because I hear a more mature version of myself. I always want things to grow, and I’m proud that I allowed myself to not follow people’s expectations and reproduce what had been successful before. There are no four-to-the-floor clubby pop songs this time.”
Instead, The Shimmer more accurately reflects Colombie’s personality. “My emotions run from super-happy to super-melancholic in a split second,” he says. “To me, The Shimmer feels like the soundtrack to a blockbuster, with many types of tracks and themes. It’s always changing.”
The Shimmer will be released on 22nd October on deluxe 2LP coloured vinyl, standard 1LP black vinyl, CD and on digital platforms.