Review: Rimbaudian – Letters

 

For their first release of 2017, Doc Daneeka’s Ten Thousand Yen turn to Rimbaudian, aka Armand Jakobsson, for a four-track EP titled Letters. This will be Rimbaudian’s second EP, following a successful debut called Illuminaions which was out on Meda Fury last summer.

Originally from Malmo, Jakobsson comes from a musical family. His father’s an opera singer, his mother’s a music teacher, and his sister’s a cellist. But despite growing up surrounded by music, Jakobsson rejected formal study, preferring instead to teach himself composition and production while at university in Edinburgh. This musical background is still apparent when listening to his tracks, a mixture of thumping house, emotional vocals, polyrhythms, and hazy, unexpected chord progressions. 

Letters comes at an interesting time for lo-fi house music, with the successes of Mall Grab, Ross From Friends and, err, DJ Seinfeld one of the highlights of last year – although not for everyone… Critics of the saturated, distorted and crunchy sound see this slapdash nature of lo-fi as a negative, while others find the sound of knackered old cassettes characterful and endearing. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, 2017 looks set to be a busy year for Jakobsson. 

‘She Taught Me How To Love’ is the EP’s first track, and serves well as a warm up. Hi-hats skitter along while nostalgic synths and chords laze above and below the rhythms. 

The second track, ’Drop It On Em’, has been doing the rounds on the internet since July. The track drops club thumping kicks and toms on us, before soft hazy chords calm things down. This jacking, sleazy tracking opening is similar to some of the tracks from his first EP Illuminations. 

A quick flick through some of Rimbaudian’s work (as well as his work under another, more divisive moniker) and you’ll notice his feel for for fusing together warm RnB vocals with fuzzy chords and sharp rhythms. ‘Drop It On Em’ is a perfect example of that sound, using a Janet Jackson sample to draw us into a hazy and indistinct world. 

‘I Would Do Everything I Did Again and Again’ is perhaps the highlight of the EP. Rimbaudian immerses us again with deep-sea piano chords and emotionally wrought, ephemeral vocals. The  skittering hats and pulsing kicks keep things moving along.

Jakobsson finishes things in a slightly lighter mood, with a bouncy bassline and effervescent synths. The emotionally tinged sound is still unmistakably there though, and as the the track fades into the distance we hear the introduction of what sounds like Big Moses’s ‘Brighter Days’ 

Rimbaudian’s sound is groovy, heavy, and takes as many cues from hip-hop as it does techno or house. This makes for a refreshing sound, and something to look forward to in 2017. 

Tracklist: 

A1: She Taught Me How To Love
A2: Drop It On EM 
B1: I Would Do Everything I Did Again And Again 
B2: I Said Goodbye To Dreams Of You At The Shore


You can buy the Letters EP HERE.

And keep up to date with Rimbaudian HERE.

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