Making minimal electronic music inspired by coldwave and other forms of dark synth pop, Xeno & Oaklander are a Brooklyn-based duo featuring Sean McBride and Liz Wendelbo.
McBride, a Maryland native, has also performed as Martial Canterel
, while the French/Norwegian Wendelbo is also a conceptual artist, filmmaker, and photographer. The pair began working as Xeno & Oaklander in 2004, favoring analog synthesizers and instruments over computer-based music-making, and pairing Wendelbo's sensual vocals with chilly, precise electronics. The duo self-released their debut, Vigils, which they recorded in one continuous take, in 2006 (Wierd Records
reissued it in 2011), putting them at the forefront of 21st century groups drawing inspiration from the minimal wave movement of the '80s. Xeno & Oaklander made their official Wierd
debut in 2009 with the single Saracen, a harbinger for their more polished album Sentinelle. The group returned in 2011 with Sets & Lights, a lusher and warmer take on their sound that ended up being their final album for Wierd
, which folded shortly afterwards. Xeno & Oaklander added more nuance to their music with the 2013 single Sheen for Electric Voice, and wrote a soundtrack for Swiss artist Fabian Marti. The duo landed at Ghostly
for 2014's Par Avion, an album inspired by synesthesia and featuring an analog Serge modular synth. Two years later, the duo returned to the label for the release of their fifth full-length, Topiary. Recorded at Tom Tom Club
's Connecticut-based Clubhouse Studio, Topiary was the first Xeno & Oaklander album to be sung entirely by Wendelbo. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi