Monday, May 23, 2005

vowel movement

The oddly named new wave duo EBN-OZN had one novelty hit, "AEIOU Sometimes Y" in 1983, and then lapsed into obscurity. Featuring Ned "EBN" Liben (synthesizer) and Robert "OZN" Rosen (organ, vocals), EBN-OZN was actually an eclectic act that saw no stylistic boundaries, venturing into synth pop, funk, and salsa with giddy enthusiasm. EBN-OZN was formed in New York in the early '80s. Rosen was introduced to Liben by an acquaintance of his girlfriend. Liben and Rosen were actually raised only a few blocks from one another, but they never met. Fans of punk rock and hip-hop, the two began spending time in clubs with one another, absorbing various forms of dance music from New York, Puerto Rico, and Europe. In 1984, EBN-OZN released their debut LP, Feeling Cavalier, on Elektra Records. Their lone album, it plays something like a Malcolm McClaren outing, full of cross-cultural stylistic pillaging and leg-pulling BS. The difference is that, unlike much of McLaren's work, it lacks any sort of concept that might redeem it.

Feeling Cavalier offers a messy mishmash of musical styles, with salsa ("Video DJ," featuring a guest turn by none other than Tito Puente); fake Africanisms ("Kuchenga Pamoja"); and Fairlight-heavy dance-rock competing for attention. And though the pair's hip irreverence sometimes pays off, as on the funny deflation of uptown artists, "Pop Art Bop," the jokes are more often broad-brush swipes on the order of "I Want Cash." The tongue-in-cheek tone also makes the earnest "Bag Lady (I Wonder)" seem even more out-of-place, although its clumsiness suggested the pair might be better off goofing around. The single "AEIOU Sometimes Y" became a staple on modern rock stations. Accompanied by a video that featured the ponytailed Rosen delivering a stream-of-consciousness rap about "this incredible Swedish girl," and with a more serious subtext about communication, it became a bizarre but deserved hit. However, Liben and Rosen were never heard from again after that, at least not together. Liben started working with Scritti Politti while Rosen created the house music outfit DaDa NaDa for his own label One Voice Records. Rosen eventually left the rock business, worked as a script analyst for Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, and began writing screenplays. Liben passed away from a heart attack in 1998.
- AMG

Ebn-Ozn - AEIOU Sometimes Y (extended 12" mix)

8 Comments:

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Wally Bangs said...

I loved that song back in the day. I was a full on punk rocker and "AEIOU Sometimes Y" was about the only non-punk song I liked. 91 Rock in Nashville used to have a deejay - Carter - who primarily played a steady diet of stuff like Jim Carroll Band and Killing Joke, but he would play the EBN-OZN just to piss off the hardcore underground types.

 
At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this at the flea market a week ago but didn't know what to do with it except laugh. I couldn't bear to spend my precious dollar so I left without it. I'm still not sure if I made the right choice.

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous angryrobot said...

wow. i barely recall this one. i never had this album, but an old friend of mine who had tons of obscure 80s synthpop vinyl had it. i think the guy who worked with Scritti had done some synth programming for other albums, at least i think i saw his name listed a couple of times in liner notes.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger 20jazzfunkgreats said...

wow again, this is ace stuff, i don't recall ever hearing of em before.

Anything else by them worth checking out or is all downhill from here?

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger guanoboy said...

It got soooo bad after this...don't even bother. I've got the follow up 12", maybe I'll post it. It's just, well, useless.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Russ B said...

I have this album on cassette and have actually digitized and cleaned up all but the last song, "The Dawn". It sounds really good when youare in the mood for strange and eclectic 80's dance music. I am suprised that people do not recognize the song "Bag Lady (I Wonder)" as one of their hits as well. It was realeased and played on radio stations here in Texas more than AEIOU.....

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The drum corps (Emerald GrenaDears All Girl Drum and Bugle Corps )I marched in years ago appeared in the AEIOU sometimes Y music video and I am trying to find a copy of the video. I've searched all over. Suggestions anyone? Please send them to EGdrumline@aol.com

 
At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just FYI, your file for "Ebn-Ozn - AEIOU Sometimes Y" is gone.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home