Published Jul 31, 2020As an artist, Archie Fairhurst's output as Romare has been so rich and engaging that it's a bit of a surprise that his latest, Home, is only his third LP. After his first two EPs in 2012 and 2013, however, it seems Fairhurst chose quality over quantity.
Released to international acclaim, his debut Projections, infused with jazz and blues, relied heavily on vinyl sampling and the exploration of cut and paste, with his work already appearing on compilations like Bonobo's Late Night Tales. With his return and release of Love Songs: Part Two, Fairhurst stepped up the variation, often playing large portions of the music himself (his grandmother's recorder, his dad's mandolin, monosynths). And while still sampling vinyl, his sound moved its way into disco and psychedelic.
Home is the latest in Fairhurst's ever-evolving sounds and production. Shifting ever further away from purely sample-based music, the album settles itself along the lines of funky house and incorporates instruments like a 12-string guitar, drum kit, and a vintage organ found at a local thrift store, which leaves a huge mark across several tracks ("The River" uses it prominently — the simple, repetitive notes sitting atop hi-hat, ride cymbals, and tight snare).
In a direct nod to the dancefloor, single "Gone" is a fantastic example of a track mired in house that uses a slow build — organ and synth working together and the occasional looped vocal thrown in — and unexpected twist to shift the momentum by adding a delicious layer of grime. With progression and reinvention a staple of Romare's work, we can only wait in anticipation for his next release. (Ninja Tune)