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Ebn-Ozn

Liben and Rosen of Ebn-Ozn
Background information
Origin New York City, New York
Genres Dance, New Wave, Synthpop, Hip Hop, Pop rock
Years active 1983-1985
Labels Elektra Records
Arista-Ariola
Wounded Bird Records
Members
Ned "EBN" Liben
Robert "OZN" Rosen

Ēbn-Ōzn was a 1980s music duo composed of Ned "EBN" Liben (synthesizer) and Robert "OZN" Rosen (organ, vocals). The duo is best known for the 1983 hit single "AEIOU, Sometimes Y." EBN-OZN represented the intersection between Manhattan's European-influenced art-rock scene and the burgeoning hip-hop and dance music of the early 1980s, which for a brief moment of time served as a multi-racial melting pot of musicians and sounds, only to separate by racial boundaries once again by the late 1980s.[citation needed]

Contents

Career

The duo formed in 1981 in New York when Rosen met Liben through record producer Jay Aaron Podolnick (who later founded Villamuse Film Studios in Austin, Texas), a friend of Ozn's then Australian fashion-model girlfriend. Soon after meeting they started spending time together in clubs listening to different types of dance music.[1] Ozn was a Broadway actor/singer in the original casts of Shenandoah and Marlowe. Ebn was owner and founder of New York's Sundragon Recording Studios, which he created at the age of 14.[citation needed] Theirs was the first American album ever recorded in its entirety on a computer — a Fairlight CMI — and the only band to have written and produced their own videos in their time.[citation needed] In 1983 they were signed by the London arm of Arista-Ariola and Elektra Records in New York, who released their only LP, Feeling Cavalier, and singles "AEIOU, Sometimes Y" and "Bag Lady (I Wonder)". The album featured a wide and hard-to-categorize range of musical styles, and a sense of humor throughout; a notable musical guest was Latin jazz/mambo legend Tito Puente.

"AEIOU" became an international MTV and dance club hit as well as receiving significant black radio play. "AEIOU" remains a modern rock radio and 80s music staple.[1] AllMusic writes that the song "combines intelligence, melody, and weirdness in just the right doses. 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."[2]

The second single was the uncharacteristically earnest dance-rock track "Bag Lady", the video for which starred Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actress Imogene Coca. The single became a dance club hit and a minor radio hit in the US, while gaining hit status in Canada and Europe.

"AEIOU, Sometimes Y" has been released on numerous "Best of the '80s" compilations (including Warner Brothers' Richard Blade's 80s Hits). Up until now, neither Ebn-Ozn nor Dada Nada, while considered groundbreaking music acts in the '80s and '90s respectively, have ever been featured in film or television soundtracks.

Feeling Cavalier was re-released on CD on Oct. 17, 2006 by Wounded Bird Records.

Breakup and Subsequent Activities

Ebn-ozn2.jpg

The duo went their separate ways in 1985. Ebn went on to work with Scritti Politti and producers including Phil Ramone and Arif Mardin. Ozn formed dance music act Dada Nada, and his own label, One Voice Records.[1] Dada Nada was signed to Polydor/London and distributed independently in North America by Ozn, who proved himself an astute businessman, going head-to-head with the major labels and gaining two Top 5 Billboard club hits: "Haunted House" (co-written and produced with Bob Greenberg, and mixed by Mike "Hitman" Wilson and Badboy Bill) and "Deep Love," (co-written with Steve Wight, and mixed by Frankie Knuckles & David Morales and Bad Boy Bill).

Ned "Ebn" Liben died young in 1998 of a heart attack in SOHO, Manhattan, New York, and is survived by his widow Sallie Moore Liben and son Max.

Ozn changed his name to Robert Ozn and went on to become a script analyst, screenwriter and producer. He worked first for free for Oliver Stone and Janet Yang's Ixtlan Films, trading his time in exchange for learning the development and production end of the movie business. He went on to become a paid first-call reader for A-list material for Stone.[1] He was then hired at Miramax, as reader for Pulp Fiction under Oscar-winning producer Richard Gladstein and as contract development exec for much of their European fare and some of horror division Dimension Films' material. He also served as script analyst at Creative Arts Agency (CAA) on projects for Sydney Pollack, Louis Malle, and James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment.

Ozn partnered with Ted Danson (friends from their Broadway days) as executive producers to option Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens, playwright Bill Russell's West End London AIDS drama,[1] for Anasazi/Paramount Television. Danson and Ozn attached their friends who agreed to work for scale if Paramount could secure a commercial-free broadcast, including Michael Douglas, Richard Gere, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Priestley and Elizabeth Taylor as well as Danson. However, as of 2007 it remains unproduced; Ozn retains the option.

Ozn and writer/producer Colin Greene sold Storm Warning, a $100 million-plus film, to Paramount for producer Mario Kassar, making the front page of the Hollywood Reporter.[citation needed] That article served as a blessing and a curse. Ozn had just been hired as an executive at Warner Brothers' now-defunct animation division, due to his unusual combination of experience in musical theatre, the record business and the film industry. Ozn was to supervise the development of the script and soundtrack along with Pete Townshend for The Iron Man (later produced without music as The Iron Giant). The Hollywood Reporter article caused a problem with Warner's personnel department: Ozn was informed he could not take his executive position because he'd sold material to the competition.[3]

In 2003, Ozn's and Greene's God's Witness, long on many of the industry's "favorite un-sold spec scripts" lists, was finally made as I Witness, starring Jeff Daniels, James Spader and Portia de Rossi. Universal released the film in the U.S. and Canada in 2007 and HBO released it internationally.

Ozn left the industry in 2003 and lives in New York City and Rio de Janeiro.

References

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:39fexqy5ldje~T1
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:wzfoxqt5ldje
  3. ^ interview "Robert Ozn" American House Music - The New York Years" BBC

External links

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