Moving to the UK at the age of 16, new Weird World signing Xenoula aka Romy Xeno experienced a disorientating culture shock as she struggled to take in the sights and sounds of sprawling, bustling European cities. Little wonder since she spent her formative years in South Africa where she was brought up around the elemental songs of nearby villagers and the rhythms of nature. Recently retreating to the quieter climes of north Wales, Romy has forged the sounds of Xenoula.
The bouncing, heavy bass beats, elemental synths and imaginative creeping percussive atmosphere of her new single ‘Chief of Tin’ – expertly pieced together by Sam Dust aka LA Priest are both ethereal and sublime. Somehow vaguely reminiscent of Bjork but yet totally individual, whilst Xenoula’s hypnotic vocal refrains are at once mysterious and piercing. “With our wasted air,” she chants before moving into some form of Afrikaans, the sound of someone surveying the unsettling beauty of the world’s landscapes and becoming horrified at the pollution that infects nature’s most wondrous habitats. Curious and just slightly unsettling but an utterly entrancing song that acts as an allegory of her ‘affinity with flora and fauna rather than with man and machines.’
The surreal and evocative video is like some Japanese movie scene that contains not too subtle references to environmental destruction by large corporations. The video sees Xenoula emerge from a spherical pod as if being birthed from the primordial ooze– it was once her home before pollutants turned the pearl-white liquid surrounding Xenoula into muddy, corrosive oil – and explore the surrounding rainforest.