robinn Multiphonia (CD, £10.25)label: Compost
Exciting debut album from Robinn, a native Frenchman now based in London. “Multiphonia” is delivering a bass heavy sound that sits somewhere in between Four Tet, Bonobo, Mount Kimbie, post-dubstep and electronic reggae. Featuring the vocals of Nathaniel Pearn aka Natural Self (Tru Thoughts). Robinn's music is somehow self-splitting into two cultural and mental superstructures, which could be avowed, to apprehend each components, if you get bit into Robinn's life course. He was born in Besançon, moved to Toulouse, where he stayed 4 years, then moved to Paris, stayed 4 years, moved to the Alps, stayed for 5 years, moved to Montpellier for teenage years, finally arrived in London 7 years ago. "When I moved to London I was feeling finally relaxed. People don't understand why, it was like 'wow you moved to London, you might be stressed everyday in this crazy city!", but actually I feel better because there is a natural flow. This city is really open… all these people come in from everywhere and this creates something where it’s very intense, these people they don't waste time. They're really here to push themselves, in the prime of their life, I think that all these people have the same kind of need to achieve, or whatever how you call it, I think it just creates this massive energy thing that makes you feel better" (Robinn, 2011). He is one of London's most sought after art directors so assumed he had little time to make a full project. Around 15 Robinn started graffiti, wanted to do this with his life – maybe not graffiti but visually to make things. His childhood have had this two superstructures as well, a very difficult childhood with divorced parents, disunite friends, divorce rough French hip hop culture and the more beautiful sunny reggae, dub culture. "I listened to the golden age of French rap (1992-1997), Oxmo Puccino, D Abuz system, La Cliqua, etc… I had this confrontation of two worlds I grew up with, which is the city (where I lived), but going back to where my mum is from, lost in the vineyards, and I developed two types of friends. I had my 'urban' friends, but also my mates who are from the countryside who have a different way of seeing things. I think it is important to know both. So, in the city it was rap, and in the countryside it was lots of reggae (and I can understand why)." These diversity, split in soul, mind and thrill-seeking society are influencing my production, while such broken arrangements, depth sounds are a typical post-dubstep phenomenon. One hypothetical question might be emerging: does all this dubstep, broken beat, West London sound victual energized and loaded by just similar dualistic minds. Working with Nathaniel Pearn, who in fact is Natural Self (with 3 albums on Tru Thoughts and lot of singles on Tru Thoughts or Breakin' Bread) under his real name, has forced Robinn to have a structure to the instrumentals, because Nathaniel is a songwriter with deep lyrics and a futuristic graceful broken voice. "I think I have a weird perception of rhythm. I work totally with my ears, I don't know chords. It’s very hard for me to learn a structure, and so I come with a very abstract way to music, which makes it 'soundscapey'. It’s more about the texture and materials before the arrangement. I think this time, we are a bit dominated by the technology and it take us time to get it back in control. I assume that it will become more regulated in the future, not sure if it's for good though. I don't have a club culture and i have a trauma with clubs and dance music being cheesy, but what i like in clubs, it's when "non club" music is being played. I feel at home here in London, but my roots and where I will end up is in the vineyards in the south of France." (Robinn, 2013). Multiphonia is inspired by "Multiphonics", an extended technique in instrumental music in which a monophonic instrument (one which generally produces only one note at a time) is made to produce several notes at once. Robinn took a similar approach with the voice of Nathaniel Pearn on the album, his vocals are used as lyrics but also as a material. He produced his voice with a strong attention to details when he was re-sampling it to create loops, pitch, chords etc… Some instrumental tracks like "Syntax Error" or "Talk To Me" are still produced with Nathaniel Pearn’s voice used as main component but as abstract texture.
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