Published Nov 10, 2016UK producer Romare, aka Archie Fairhurst, has built his career on recontexualizing others' work via the samples he used to construct his musical collages. But aside from a glut of vintage disco vinyl, his latest album Love Songs: Part Two (out now on Ninja Tune) was largely created from instruments he played himself, with a healthy dollop of romance on top.
Love Songs: Part Two is littered with sentimentality from top to bottom. Song titles, vocals and sugary melodies are all coated in romance, a theme that Romare can't help but investigate.
"I like human emotion, I guess," Fairhurst tells Exclaim! "That's pretty vague, I know, but I think music goes hand in hand with human emotion. People who really dig music, really dig deep into it as an art form, or as a wave, I think they also have quite deep emotions. Music is the food of love, really. The essence of music is about love in a lot of ways. Whether it's about heartbreak or yearning or new relationships, it's the biggest theme in music.
"I called my first Love Songs release Part 1 because I thought it's such a big topic and there's so many samples and lyrics that I can pull from records or from film that are quite powerful," he continues. "It's not an inexhaustible theme, but there's so much material, so many options. Not only that, but so many different emotions too: you've got sad and happy emotions so readily available in love songs, and from those you can also make fast songs, or slow ones, dense and complicated songs, or very light, minimal tracks too. Then, you can orchestrate them to feed into the love theme in some way too because there's so many different shades of love out there."
By playing various instruments and then layering them atop one another — essentially creating collage through sampling himself — Romare has created a full, fleshed-out sound here. It still has all the sonic signifiers of Romare's earlier releases — each track is still dripping with liquid soul, basically — psychedelic jam session of "New Love," "L.U.V.'s" slinky solo, and the sheer multitude of instruments on "Je T'aime" all make it seem like a six-piece funk ensemble have invaded your speakers.
"I got this new bass, this chunky, old, Japanese thing, and I have a bunch of keyboards, a synth, drum machine, MIDI controller, looping station, and I've been playing guitar since I was kid," Fairhurst tells Exclaim! "So yeah, I'm getting back to more instrumental stuff. I was doing bits of that on the last record but there's a lot more harmony and chords and melodies on this one, from me and my instruments, than there was on the last record."
Romare still has a slew of obscure samples dotted throughout Love Songs: Part Two. "I have a friend who lives in Amsterdam, who's a really big disco collector," says Fairhurst. "He was getting rid of a crate of records that he either had doubles for or he was bored of. I went through them and took about 40 records. Quite a few of those are in the album actually, because I like going through crates, and I like buying a chunk of records and going through them and sort of seeing what I can assemble through having picked them."
Listen to "Who Loves You?" below.