Horsin’ Around 020: Oxia


In a world flooded with carbon copy ‘tech-house’ productions the mission of filtering through the fakers and taste makers is no mean feat. Oxia has been setting the standard of contemporary club music for all of 2 decades by providing an accessible balance between the roots of house and lashings of techno fundamentals, all delivered in a neat little swing package. From signings at numerous labels, countless releases, his own labels, several passports crammed with countries’ stamps and cementing himself as an artist. Oxia has evolved, survived and continues to influence the sound on a global scale.

Now listening to the French mans sound, it’s quite clear to hear his original influences of where it all began. Citing disco and funk as his first love, at the age of 15 began beatmatching records alongside Stephane Deschezeaux for their local funk radio station. Between these two, this is where the musical journey began.

In 1991, the two the collection of electronic musical equipment as a live act in a union known as ‘Oxia’ housed the French city of Grenoble. At the time, this was France’s electronic-tuned city. Olivier and Stephane went on to birth labels ‘Ozone Records’ alongside Kiko and ‘Goodlife‘ with The Hacker and Alexandre Reynaud. After having had several releases on the labels, a pivotal point occurred – as good friends, Stephane parted leaving Olivier to pilot Oxia under solo direction.

The first album in 2004 ’24 HEURES’ on Goodlife showcased 12 tracks, ranging from ambient under 100bpm scuzzed out electronica tracks to the sound that has now settled into. The album flows as a progression of a 24 hour period – opening with ‘Premiere Heure’, a dark synth heavy soundscape setting the tone of the rest of the listening experience flowing seamlessly into the next track. From here, the album mianders through disjointed beats, analogue sounds, lashings of 90’s inspirations and techno beats to the ‘peak time’ 136bpm track – ‘Flashback’ (aptly – the 6th track). From here he dives back down in energy again before the final three tracks kick you in the teeth once more.

Honorable mention must go to ‘Intuition’

It clearly illustrated Olivier’s indebtedness to the hypnotic techno rhythms of Jeff Mills, UR and the deep electro dynamics.

2 years down the track it was the groundbreaking ‘Domino’ on the second to none label ‘Kompakt’ that proved to be his seminal record.

The oscillating melodic tones, a skippy high end and a driving insistence give Oxia the competitive edge creating a timeless club classic.

Continuing from one stand out label to the next ‘Whole Life’ sprung in 2009 on Gorge and Nick Curly’s 8Bit Label. It was a killer in the underground house scene gaining the second spot ‘best tech-house production’ in the Beatport Music Awards and most charted track of that year in Resident Advisor DJ Chart.

All this hard work didn’t go unnoticed and In 2008 Oxia scored second & third spot in the Beatport Music Awards ‘Best Remix’ (with his remix of Butch’s track) and Best ‘Techno Artist’.

In 2012 Oxia came back with a new LP ‘Tides Of Mind’ on the French Infiné Music. On this album he works for the first time with guest singers: Miss Kittin, Mesparrow, and Scalde. Oxia decided to put aside the trendy electronic patterns and to move back to more classic but no less enjoyable House Music. Tracks like ‘Flying Over Time’ & ‘Latitude’ giving the warmth of house to the album and honing in on the trademark Oxia groove and shuffle he’s arrived at today.

‘When I made my previous album eight years ago, I listened to a lot of techno music, almost only that at that time. Sometime later I restarted listening to other genres too, such as my old loves soul and funk but also jazz, classical music, folk and artists such as James Blake, Loney Dear, Radiohead and lots of deeper electronic music.’

With this said, the album is not shy of a deep and melodic sound that ventures to the dancefloor with a stamp of the Oxia groove. This is music conducive to daydreaming, smiling, feet-tapping and escapism. Again, the album washes over tastings of different periods of the night with the opening and closing in similar fashion as 24 HEURES’s soundscape tracks.

Peering through Olivier’s soundcloud, unveils days upon days of listening from many of the usual suspects’ podcasts including his ‘Home Selection’s’ podcasts.

‘”Home Selection”, it’s a podcast series dedicated to the music I listen to while being at home… It’s a collection of old and recent while crossing different musical borders though focussed on a chilled out state of mind.’

Still very much drawn to the soundscape-y productions in his albums.

By mid 2014, the Frenchman is ready with new work – SAVED releases his “Perception” EP. Once more this release shows how Oxia masters the house and techno crossover. The success of this release doesn’t go unnoticed and a follow up on SAVED earlier this year in January.

Now striking a true generational balance between the roots of house with the foundations of techno and the grooves of funk and disco has landed Oxia to where he is now. Masterful productions with a hefty back-catalog, incredible dj and one of the scene’s marathon runners.