Moments of unbridled creation often manifest themselves in rather eccentric ways. Be it a sudden eureka moment, where the internal light-bulb flickers on sharply, or the seamless state of flow that appears when writer and pen are in-tune. But what about electronic musicians and that of the equipment around them? In Robert Babicz’s instance, the very sounds produced by this relationship morph into shapes and colours; sonic frequencies become visible objects due to the rare phenomenon, and indeed gift, of synesthesia.
Evidenced by Robert Babicz’s eighth album, Utopia, this inherent creative process has resulted in a body of work that embodies his own personal experiences, forming a life soundtrack to epitomise moments of both elation and hardship. Memories enjoyed contrast with those endured, interwoven in a tapestry of musical expression that encapsulates a human story we can all relate to. Set for release on Marc Romboy’s Systematic Recordings, a label of which the Polish-born artist is more than familiar with given his two previous ‘Butterfly’ LPs, the album touches upon some of society’s fundamental challenges, most notable of which is our search for the ideal world. Perhaps most strikingly is Robert’s assertion that the ‘Utopia’ we seek is not in fact a destination; rather it is a journey, one in which we must introspectively assess the notion that to find “a better world to live in, we must create it each day ourselves.”
Each track therefore is a reflection of such a discovery, acting as an auditory representation of Robert’s personal tale and typifying the evolution that naturally ensues. In this instance the symbolic nature of the butterfly, showcased in the album’s cover artwork, represents this transformatory experience. The voyage soon begins with Childhood, an ambient introductory piece that blissfully sets the tone of the release with emotive keys and warm, ethereal pads. Heartstone soon takes the helm, as progressive synths converge on a rhythmic kick-hat backbone, before the instrument-dotted Heroes opens with a stunning guitar-riff lead and resonant snare patterns.
The subdued tones of Hotel Kalimba soon grace us, a beautiful interluding track that works to rise and fall simultaneously, paving the way for a reworked version of Sonntag, one of Robert’s most popular tracks previously released on the well-established Kompakt label. Come Down swiftly ups the tempo, featuring a compelling main bassline that accompanies the poignant storytelling of vocalist Zera, before the hypnotic hum of Super Cactus softens the pace and gifts us a glimpse into a world far-removed from ours.
We are graced with another bespoke offering in Sin, an enchanting seven-minute rework of Robert’s debut Systematic Recordings track of the same name, whilst the heartfelt sense of No One Else undulates with a gentle lucidity, as Zera’s docile tones shimmer amidst a saxophone solo that evokes feelings of contemplation and anguish in one. Climax soon emerges with its breaks-inspired drum patterns and ethereal synth pulses, before the cosmic notes of Garden of Souls leave us in a haze of starry, wide-eyed reflection. Alice Rose’s mesmerising vocals amplify the meditative qualities of Infinity Inside, a delicate penultimate record that unfurls into the album’s eventual closing track: Utopia. Club-ready whilst retaining the emotional flair with which Robert has become best known, the near nine minute piece rounds off proceedings in a state of euphoric, dream-like perfection.
Having relocated to the picturesque island of Malta from his previous residence in Germany, Robert Babicz has remained a staple artist in electronic music for nearly three decades. Cutting his teeth in the acid house era of the early nineties under his Rob Acid moniker, Robert’s innate ability to resonate with listeners has seen him produce several acclaimed albums for Marc Romboy’s Systematic Recordings previously, alongside connecting with clubgoers around the world through regular performances across Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as North and South America. Since 2010 Robert has used his own label Babiczstyle to put out self- produced work and has released twenty five EPs on the imprint in just ten years, a testament to his creative zest and inherent talent for production.
Utopia will be released on November 13th on Systematic Recordings and is available for pre-order now.
- Hotel Kalimba
- Sonntag (Album Version)
- Come Down (with Zera)
- Super Cactus
- Sin (Album Version)
- No One Else (with Zera)
- Garden of Souls
- Infinity Inside (feat. Alice Rose)
Charles Webster with the first track from his first major solo album in two decades, ‘Decision Time’. This first single ‘The Spell’ also features a remix from Burial and the vocals of Ingrid Chavez.
Operating in house music since the mid ’80s, Charles Webster is revered as something like the producer’s producer, spoken about in the same breath as Larry Heard or Ron Trent amongst the DJ cognoscenti, releasing music over the years under 30 different pseudonyms with over 500 remixes.
After moving to San Francisco in the late nineties, he created an album under the alias Presence entitled ‘All Systems Gone’. The “pillowy” sound design of this classic is cited as a key influence on the music of Burial. For this track, Burial has paid a further tribute, contributing a rare remix, additionally to a dub mix from Charles. This track also includes the words of Prince muse Ingrid Chavez. who famously wrote the spoken word poetry in Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’.
“Decision Time” is Charles first major solo record since 2001’s “Born On The 24th July”. With an album of this quality and the 20-year cycles of electronic culture, it feels like this is the perfect moment to celebrate the brilliance of his legacy. From citing Rickie Lee Jones as a key influence, storytelling and song writing has always been important for Charles as he used house music as the medium. From the down-tempo impressionistic soul of “This Is Real” that moves like slow morphing clouds across the soundscape to the irresistible two-step and impressionistic words of Ingrid Chavez on “The Spell” a new generation of ears deserve to discover the influential underground sound world of Charles Webster.
Releases October 9, 2020
Legendary trip-hop duo Kruder & Dorfmeister have stepped out of the ethereal fog of time to release their latest single, ‘King Size’ on the 25th of September, taken from their long-awaited album, 1995, which is set to drop on the 13th of November via G-Stone Recordings. The album was mastered by the esteemed Bernie Grundman (Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre) and is their first album release in 22 years. 1995 a rediscovered treasure trove of lost moments, is soaked with the primordial smokey haze of the nineties.
Kruder & Dorfmeister discovered that time machines really do exist when they uncovered a box of DATs and an old DAT player was prised back into service. Helplessly spun up into the smokey wormhole of 1995, the two found themselves deposited in a world just before The K&D Sessions and the duo’s DJ-Kicks would come to rule the airwaves. Over the years since, the pair have sold millions of albums worldwide and have accumulated hundreds of thousands of plays across digital streaming platforms. K&D consider the UK their “second home base”, with two sold-out shows at London’s Roundhouse in 2018, shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, London, and Albert Hall, Manchester, in 2019, and an extended European tour in the works for May 2021.
Composed of Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister, the Viennese duo started making music together in the early 1990s. Their roots draw influence from hip hop, rare groove, dub and new wave, and their sound finds company alongside Massive Attack, Tricky and Thievery Corporation. Through the years, the two have engineered the successes of multiple projects including Tosca, Peace Orchestra and Voom:Voom, and official remixes for the likes of Depeche Mode, before now making their return as Kruder & Dorfmeister to take us all back to that one Viennese front room that has once again turned its bass bins out to the cosmos. Those days of “K&D Time” had been thought to have gone. But one of times tricks is to hide itself in music.
Luscious rolling basslines and tribalistic embellishments greet the listener in ‘King Size’, as it carries the strong, smokey haze of 1995 within its grasp. Unusual instruments and their accompanying sounds rise and fall throughout the single, twirling enticingly but escaping definition each time. Harkening back to the days where “K&D Time” was a standard, this small hint of the rediscovered treasure trove of 1995 is sure to leave listeners yearning for more tantalising sounds of downtempo trip-hop and the ever-present hazy memories surrounding it.
Dinosaurs to deliver a dancefloor-driven 12” that builds on some of the foundations of electronic music, tracing a line from 1980’s NYC through to the warehouse parties of today.
Lead single “Heartbreak”—released digitally today alongside a UK rave inspired visual by Director Tom Andrew—is a breakbeat-driven ode to one of electronic music’s formative scenes: NYC’s disco revolution of the 1970’s & 80’s. Sampling Christine Wiltshire’s iconic vocal line “I can’t take the heartbreak” from the ‘83 disco anthem “Weekend” by Class Action.
Having both settled in LA around 2015, the two UK artists quickly struck up a friendship. With subsequent years spent performing at each other’s gigs and exchanging demos, they finally got into the studio together to record “Heartbreak” and B-side “6000 Ft.”. “Orlando (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) was playing me a fairly stripped back idea he had for something last year,” says Green. “We spent a few afternoons in his studio trying ideas out and eventually, ‘Heartbreak’ was the end result.”
With the sample at its core, the track sees both artists pay their respects to one of the formative scenes in electronic music, with additional liner notes from author Tim Lawrence provided on the 12”, giving insights into the history and evolution of “Weekend” and the lasting impact it had on the electronic music of today. “Now more than ever it feels important to be putting out dance music with deliberate acknowledgment of its history.” says Orlando. “It’s great to be releasing music with Simon, not to mention the first release on his label.”
The 12” is the first to arrive via Bonobo’s new label, OUTLIER—formed in partnership with Ninja Tune—and expands on the series of club shows and festival stage takeovers under that same banner. Launched at the iconic, though now sadly shuttered New York club Output, OUTLIER sees Bonobo playing and curating an array of nights and festivals on either side of the Atlantic which has so far included Field Day, Nuits Sonores, OFFSonar and more. The new imprint will “reflect the more club focused side of what I’m building with OUTLIER” he explains. “‘Heartbreak’ seems like a good starting point and was the track that became the catalyst to start the label. One for the dance floors in a time when they’re dearly missed.”
Taken from the album ‘Karma & Desire’, released 23 October on Ninja Tune: https://actress.lnk.to/karma-desireYo
Bristol-based duo Jadu Heart have just released their long-awaited sophomore album Hyper Romance (listen/purchase now), and shared new tour dates for 2021 (full dates below, tickets available now). Released independently via VLF Records, the album is out now on all available platforms.
Written and recorded in a Bristol basement studio over the course of nine months utilizing a small arsenal of grimey foot pedals and amplifiers, the duo crafted a body of work that blends raw, lo-fi psych-rock with sonic healing. “The studio was right next to an old church so we decided to call it ‘The Crypt’, and some of that gothic influence definitely seeped into the album as a whole,” they remark. A project largely based on the interplay between calm and chaos, Hyper Romance is a collection of love songs written during a period of relocation and reflection. “It’s about the intense highs and lows of being in love, and is pretty much a soundtrack to the light and dark sides of your relationship.” Where their first album Melt Away experimented an electronic-leaning sound during a chaotic few years in the competitive London scene, Hyper Romance is the sound of the band growing up. Releasing six tracks over the course of a year, Alex Headford and Diva Jeffrey gave listeners a glimpse into the flux of maturity, moving to a new city, falling in love, and the emotions tied to it.
Born to artistic families, Headford and Jeffrey were naturally drawn to music from a young age, both being immersed in it while at home and on family vacations. As self-taught songwriters and producers, they have always strived to chart their own course without relying on anyone else. This independence has inspired the duo to shift in a new musical direction, unbound to any one genre, as they draw influences from various fields. The 11-track Hyper Romance is testament to the longevity of the band, as they take listeners on a sonic journey through the world in which they inhabit.
Listen to Hyper Romance now: https://www.jaduheart.com/
The ethereal and swirling sounds of Greece’s Keep Shelly in Athens capture the transient feelings of city life and the inevitable passing of time. With lush melodic beats and dreamy vocals Keep Shelly’s production is an accessible and lighthearted entry into the world of down-tempo electronica.
With previous releases on labels including Forest Family Records, Transparent Records, Planet Mu, Cascine and Friends of Friends, the duo have already transported their whimsical arrangements and soothing productions across the globe, including performances at Coachella Festival, Parklife Festival, Brighton’s The Great Escape Festival and Austin’s Fun Fun Fun.
In addition to their own releases they have also done official remixes for Tycho (Ghostly International), Blood Diamonds (4AD), Steve Mason (Domino) and many more…
Their new EP, Defy Me, is due Nov. 12. Now they have shared the second single / lyric video from it, “I See In Your Mind.” You can pre-order the EP here. Keep Shelly in Athens are RPR and Jessica Bell.
RPR notes, about the new EP, “So many things have happened since the beginning of this year which could provide material for several albums! Nevertheless, in the 5 tracks from our upcoming EP we tried to transform our anxiety about the future as well as our anger and outrage at everything that is happening right now, regarding the murder of innocent people and so many other issues, into something positive. I think this came out in a natural and unforced way, and we hope the audience will find some escape within these songs.”
Made up of Norway’s Farao & Icelandic musician Special-K, Ultraflex are set to release their debut album ‘Visions of Ultraflex’ on Oct 30th. Today they are sharing new single & video “Never Forget My Baby“.
“Never Forget My Baby” is a lush yet punchy club banger; the effortlessness with which the girl’s voices blend together in the chorus and the sentimental, verging on saccharine lyrics atop a disco beat gives the track its delicate edge. If you take Cher’s and Janet Jackson’s DNA and mix it together, you’ll get “Never Forget My Baby“.
Speaking about the track, the band said “Yvonne Winona is admiring herself in the mirror, listening to her go to ‘putting on lotion’ song ’Never Forget My Baby’. She is her own gaze. All of a sudden Ultraflex appears on her bed.”