The following article was published in N-SPHERE May 2010 issue.


At the very peak of what one would call the modern cold wave sound is Brooklyn based Xeno & Oaklander. But before purists dissent – there is a genuine French connection. The duo is comprised of American Sean McBride and French-Norwegian Liz Wendelbo. Thus a large part of their lyrics are sung in native French, which sits perfectly on top of their brilliantly executed, and exclusively analog synth wave.

Their 2010 European tour brings them to Berlin after dates in Scotland, England, Ireland, Belgium with their debut album Sentinelle (Weird Records 2009).

Together on tour is Weird Records’ label–mate and fellow Brooklynites, Led Er Est, who fulfill the guitar role for the evening. Their sound is comparable to X&O, with heavy focus on electronic effects, with gouts of guitar washing over the John Carpenter inspired synths – check their songs Scissors or Laredo, or their brilliant cover of Solid State’s A Darkness in My Soul, for example. With this they won me over instantly, despite the keyboard player’s desert explorer outfit! After X&O having such good press in publications like NME, Vice and The Village Voice, this show was highly anticipated for Berlins hardcore minimal fans, wavers and even more diverse factions. The crowd began picking up momentum, but sadly it never escalated any further than a few people’s timid swaying. X&O were the most animated attendees at the show – when they were on stage, belting out Shadow World and the favorite of mine, Vagabond!

The opportunity for Berlin to experience two of America’s best, and this from a very limited selection, wave bands from a modest, but impressive label like Weird should have gotten better response in mainland Europe’s most vibrant music city.

With that in mind, the night was however a success, thanks to the full attendance, albeit a brief one (the sets were unceremoniously short), and a sober one. The audience made haste in vacating shortly after the concert, leaving the bands to pack up for Prague the following day, so the impending after party didn’t happen.

On a final positive note, this was for many the beginning of the spring live show season in Berlin, and the first tour for the independent minimal and wave scene to hit the Hauptstadt since winter last year. This ends a virtual dry–spell of quality artists from abroad hitting Berlin’s hundreds of stages, clearing the path for a dozen upcoming concert tours all with the destination Berlin.

by Mark Splatter

photo by Diana Daia

Full article here.