FORMERLY a member of the romantic, cinematic Parisian quartet Film Noir and also of the lower-slung David Lynch rock ‘n’ roll outfit Chinese Army, Paris-based saxophonist and composer Oan Kim has struck out to carve his own path, drawing on the aesthetics of those previous outfits – a noirish romance, a late-night evocation and thrill – which, while coming in some elements from an indie base, springs out with jazz sax fully front and centre.
It’s a little bit Lynch, a little bit Combustible Edison, a lot mondo pop and crime jazz, impressionistic, atmospheric;his new track, “Mambo” flips the sax-foregrounding positivity of Alabaster dePlume towards something that might require a poster by Saul Bass.
The track’s a first taste of Oan’s new album, Oan Kim & The Dirty Jazz, which will be out come February.
Oan says: “It was a deliberate decision to give the jazz saxophone a front position on what would otherwise be an indie music album.”
The album was written, recorded and produced at home in Paris, where Oan let his compositions breathe and take shape, “without ever knowing where they would take me. Operating almost in a vacuum of space and time gave me a lot of freedom.
“Pop music will never have that miraculous improvised flair of a good jazz solo, while jazz rarely has the enthralling efficacy of pop music,” he says of the hybridised aesthetic he’s currently working within. “But who said music had to be as polarized as politics? I wanted to bring together the best of both worlds.”
Oan says he drew on influences as diverse as – but, crucially, not limited to – Kurt Vile, Stravinsky, James Holden, and Miles Davis; placing himself on the spectrum as “somewhere between Pharoah Sanders and Radiohead.
“Hitchcock used to say: once you’re finished with the screenplay you can write the dialogues,” he expands. “I feel the same way about songwriting. [The] themes of each song come out of the music itself towards the end of the songwriting process.”
Oan Kim’s Oan Kim & the Dirty Jazz will be released on February 25th.