Having spent more than seventeen cross-genre years featuring on some of dance music’s most prestigious imprints, Blu Mar Ten has opened the doors of their own label to a host of fresh young talent emerging from the leftfield of Drum & Bass and beyond.
With a growing list of talent delivering a rollercoaster of emotions and armed with a desire to stand out rather than fit in, Blu Mar Ten Music (BMTM) is rapidly becoming a label to watch.
The fourth release in this new chapter is bought to us by Stray & Frederic Robinson
Darlings of tastemakers across the spectrum, from Gilles Peterson to London Elektricity, Stray & Frederic Robinson specialise in complex, atmospheric tracks whose subtlety and musicality defies the brash conventions of contemporary dance music.
Having already featured separately on leading labels Critical Records, Hospital Records, Med School, Brownswood, Exit, Invisible and many more we’re honoured to host the first collaboration between these two incredibly dynamic young producers.
Stray: When it Rains
Almost a pulse rather than a track, When it Rains demands the listener’s attention not by shouting but by murmuring it’s message in the most restrained way possible. Muted soundscapes, rhodes and detached vocals are underpinned with the distant drone of city traffic, conjuring up images of a metropolis coming to life in the early morning. Only the hypnotic throb of a kick drum and sub-bass survive to remind the listener of When it Rain’s jungle origins. This deeply nuanced track explores the outer limits of abstract Drum & Bass in an exceptionally elegant and beautiful fashion.
Stray & Frederic Robinson: Thumbprint
This first collaboration between the duo came into being in the summer of 2012 when Frederic Robinson left Austria to visit London for the first time. Four sleepless days and nights of studio confinement culminated in this neurotic chimera of tortured cellos and fractured breaks. Like mad scientists the pair have layered the scraping of stringed instruments over kaleidoscopic vocals while schizophrenic drums and percussion chatter like distressed, half-stepping barcodes. Thumbprint is an outstanding collision of talent and is unlikely to be the last alliance between these enfants terribles of modern electronic music.
Artist: Stray & Frederic Robinson
Label: Blu Mar Ten Music
Release date: 28th January 2013
Formats: Vinyl & Digital
Demonstrating stunning musical ability well beyond his 22 years, London producer Stray exploded on to the drum & bass scene back in 2009 with the release of “Timbre” on Kasra’s infamous label Critical Music. Fast forward three years and Stray’s productions have been championed by drum and bass luminaries Goldie, London Elektricity, Rockwell, Alix Perez, Calyx and Teebee, as well as earning him the attention of BBC 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson, resulting in the release of ‘Break your Legs’ on his Brownswood Records imprint.
A deep thinker, Stray’s considered approach constantly marks out his music from the competition. Whether it’s the delicate and sparse keys of ‘Pushed’, which featured on dBridge and Instra:Mental’s critically acclaimed Fabric Live 50 mix, his brutal jungle remix of ‘Jazzsteppa feat. The Foreign Beggars’ or the massive tech-funk of ‘Saturday’ on Noisia’s Invisible imprint, Stray has fast established himself as one of the most diverse and visionary DJ/producers in modern drum & bass.
Stray’s ‘Oblique’ (co-produced with Sabre and Halogenix), surfaced on Critical Music in 2011, numbering amongst its fans Metalheadz CEO Goldie, who proclaimed “Oblique touches the very nerve of the craft of this music drum & bass; many years from now when we look back this tune will be a ‘waypoint’ of the times”.
Having previously worked with Blu Mar Ten, remixing their ‘Natural History’ album and collaborating on 2011’s ‘Love is the Devil’ LP, Stray was an immediate first choice to introduce new label Blu Mar Ten Music to the world. His single ‘Follow You Around’ / ‘Contract’ debuted on the label in September 2013 to critical acclaim.
In a world where harder, faster and more obnoxious is the order of the day Frederic Robinson deals in complex and nuanced music that displays a maturity of thought far beyond the young German’s 21 years. Disciplined and focused, he stretches genres until the restrictions of tempo lose their meaning and the listener is free to simply experience music rather than categorise it. His intensely intricate sound design, instrumentation and arrangement places him closer to contemporary classical composers such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley or Philip Glass than the more typically accepted gurus of dance music.
In person, Frederic constantly talks of his work as a force for good; a practical belief in the power of music to genuinely affect for the better the lives of the people who hear it:
“Since I first started producing, the development process of every one of my pieces has been fuelled by a euphoria which nothing else can give me. It was always my goal to achieve the same effect in the people who listen to my music.”
For Frederic Robinson music is not some cynical fast-track to DJ work, transient fame or the faint praise of his peers. Despite having its roots in common dance music this is the exploration of sound and structure beyond the cheap, pyrotechnic tricks of clubland and into a much more intimate space of thought and emotion. Having trained as a classical violinist and now studying audio design in Switzerland Frederic is fixated with the meshing of the organic and the electronic, constantly pushing his instruments in new and unconventional ways to create textures that cannot be found in any off-the-shelf software. Those who remember the early DIY synthesiser-tinkering which gave birth to Aphex Twin’s uniquely haunting sound will recognise the same spirit of innovation in the work of Frederic Robinson.
The music itself is beautiful, both subtle and satisfying. Harmonies rush and swoop, collapsing in on each other amid fractured percussion and sparkling melody, simultaneously muscular and fragile. Motifs appear, become warped then reappear in different forms, helping the music to talk about itself while it shifts through distinct movements of light and shade. It is this fearsome and unique skill in execution which has led Frederic Robinson to the ears of tastemakers across the spectrum, from Gilles Peterson to London Elektricity, and seen a flurry of releases on Hospital Records, Brownswood, BMTM and Med School along with remix work for some of his most promising young contemporaries.
Frederic Robinson’s journey is only just beginning but those with an eye for talent will already have spotted that one of the most potent forces in modern electronic music is already amongst us.
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