Vladimir Cauchemar teamed up with rapper 6ix9ine and now he’s blowing up

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When we first wrote about mysterious French “medieval house” producer Vladimir Cauchemar, we made a few wisecracks about the intrinsic uncoolness of his preferred lead instrument, the recorder. I doubt Vladimir reads this blog, but if he does, he apparently took that as a challenge, because his latest release, “Aulos Reloaded,” basically does for the recorder what Dr. Dre did for the talkbox. A rework of Cauchemar’s instrumental track “Aulos,” it features rainbow-haired American rapper 6ix9ine and a video that shows 6ix and Vlad, in his trademark skull mask (now complete with silver grill), rolling through the streets of Paris with a motorbike gang. In other words, Vladimir Cauchemar is now straight ballin’, as I believe the kids still like to say.

I can’t say I was a big fan of 6ix9ine before this release — he’s part of a wave of young rappers whose face tatts are more interesting than their music — but I have to give him props for aligning himself with a masked French producer of self-described “medieval house music” who previous biggest claim to fame was a ridiculously awesome video starring a middle-aged guy in a rust-colored turtleneck who is, allegedly, Cauchemar’s recorder teacher. And it seems to be working out great for both of them — in the week since its release, “Aulos Reloaded” has already racked up 8 million views. If it starts getting played on American hip-hop radio in between Drake and Travis Scott, I might start taking recorder lessons myself. Apparently it’s what the cool kids do now.

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Vladimir Cauchemar

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I think we can all agree that when it comes to cool instruments, the recorder is pretty low on the list. Not to say the little flute-like rascals aren’t delightful, especially when played by small children or wandering minstrels. But no one ever piped out an old folk tune on a recorder and thought to themselves, “This is totally gonna get me laid.”

Maybe that’s why, when French electronic music label Ed Banger Records released a video last December from a mysterious artist named Vladimir Cauchemar that featured a middle-aged man in a red turtleneck rocking a recorder to a sneakily infectious house beat, it got shared more widely than a Netflix password. As of this writing, the video for “Aulos” is closing in on 4 million views, which might be 3.9 million more times than anyone has watched anyone do anything with a recorder — unless “recorder porn” is a thing and no, we are definitely not Googling the words “recorder porn” to find out.

No one really knew anything about the identity of the artist behind “Aulos” when it first came out, and seven months later, that’s still pretty much true. The bio on his Ed Banger page simply reads, “Vladimir Cauchemar is an enigma to all of us.” The images on his Facebook page show a man DJing and posing in various industrial spaces wearing a skull mask. The only interview he’s given so far is in Japanese. Thanks to Google translator, we were able to decipher some of that interview, which appears to reveal that the man in the “Aulos” video is Vladimir’s music teacher (a guy named Eric) and that he himself is a self-described producer of “medieval house music” (the medieval part, presumably, is the recorder) based in France. And that’s about as much as we were able to glean. If he wishes to remain an enigma, he’s definitely succeeding.

Since the release of “Aulos,” Vladimir has put out a couple remixes, both featuring more of his trademark recorder. We’ll leave you with “Basik Yellow,” his rework of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.” Actually, you know what? I was wrong about the recorder. After this track came out, I bet Vladimir Cauchemar got laid a lot.

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