Release Date: Aug 12, 2016
Record label: Mixpak
Benjy Keating (a.k.a. Palmistry, a.k.a. “the Irish butter, mixed with the English rain and gutter”) makes minimal pop music to maximal ends. On Pagan, his debut full-length for the increasingly essential Mixpak (home of Gaika, Murlo, and Popcaan), he uses simple synth melodies, antiseptic beats, and a lilting, candid vocal style to craft an emotionally affecting rumination on absence/presence.
Like other artists with jarringly idiosyncratic styles, Palmistry is often pinned down with the same arsenal of descriptors: bedroom dance-pop, lo-fi electronica, tip-toed dancehall for fragile souls. However, these descriptors all presuppose that Palmistry is ushering the dance floor behind closed doors, rather than opening these doors and imbuing the dance floor with what lurked behind them. The latter approximates the core of his music: he’s an introvert imposing his private world—a place of deep intimacy, fingertip-across-flesh caresses, and hushed longing—onto the club scene that surrounds him, not someone who simply observes the intensities of this scene, takes them home, and molds them in secret.
Since it was founded in 2009, Dre Skull's Mixpak has been home to an incredibly broad range of bass-heavy sounds. Artists like Jubilee and Douster have tended towards clubbier house and techno influences, and Murlo's been the primary flag-bearer for more grime-style rhythms. But if there's one thing that's tied the Mixpak aesthetic together it's dancehall.
Benjy Keating started making music in a South London bedroom, spurred on by his roommate Dominik Dvorak (aka PC Music affiliated producer Felicita). At first he was making what he admitted to be “Burial rip-offs” but then, after hearing dancehall beats blare out of car windows, he drifted into a new style. The first taste of this came with a song called “Catch,” made in conjunction with SOPHIE.