Release Date: Nov 11, 2016
Record label: Ninja Tune
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Downtempo, Club/Dance, Left-Field House
Archie Fairhurst aka Romare has never been one for disguising his influences. Named after African- American artist, author and songwriter Romare Bearden, he set about employing the same aesthetic as his namesake as he borrowed samples from African American musical forms to assemble a learned, dancefloor-friendly collage of musical styles on his debut album Projections. Given the success of that project, it’s little surprise to find this follow-up charting a similar, if slightly deviated path.
Ironically, despite being done a sickening number of times, creating an album about love is not an easy feat. Better known as Romare, Archie Fairhurst, has attempted to put together a collage of sounds that express all kinds of love. It’s not his first attempt either, as the album title suggests. Love Songs: Part 2 is a bigger, more expansive, follow up to Love Songs: Part 1.
In 2014, Romare – AKA producer Archie Fairhurst – released Love Songs: Part One, pasting Peggy Lee into stuttering, bass-heavy R&B and aping retro funk, jazz and blues. Although the result was timeless in the sense that it borrowed from multiple decades, the sense of curation made it feel fresh. And yet Romare’s presence didn’t feel entirely definite; Fairhurst even cribbed his stage name from an African American artist who died in the 80s.
Archie Fairhurst’s new album, Love Songs Pt. 2, is a more intense, yet at times more tender, follow-up to his debut EP Projections. Signed to Ninja Tune and making music under the moniker Romare, Fairhurst uses a collage-like approach to his production, inspired by the method adopted by American artist and namesake Romare Bearden. Cutting and pasting together samples, bass lines and percussion, Romare’s sound is warm and groovy, with this record's disco influences evident – tracks such as All Night, and My Last Affair boast soulful vocals which offer some clear references to the glorious sounds of the 70s.
Can you feel the love? Romare can, and he's injected as much of it as humanly possible into his latest record without it becoming sickly sweet. From the album and song titles to the vocal cuts and on to the sugary melodies, Love Songs: Part Two is an album steeped in romance.It follows the same suit as his 2013 EP, Love Songs: Part One, and to a slightly lesser extent, his more recent album Projections. Yet, despite being strong releases in their own right, the two aforementioned seem more like warm-ups in the wake of Part Two.
Electronic artist Romare borrows his name from the artist visual Romare Bearden, and the allusion in this moniker is symbolic. Bearden was most well-known as a collagist. His works often take others’ work and piece it together to make something of a disfigured puzzle where the pieces just don’t seem to fit. A head will be out of proportion with the body, or an arm will have a phantom bend to it.
On his second full-length for Ninja Tune, London-based producer Romare continues to refine his brand of warped house music. The album is a full-length sequel to his Love Songs, Pt. 1 EP from 2013, and it adheres closely to its theme, with cooing, romantic vocal samples and sensuous grooves that lean closer to midtempo (there's none of the juke-inspired frenzy of his earliest EPs).
Romare 'Love Songs: Part Two' (Ninja Tune)We thought we had Romare’s number. After a bonkers 2012 EP on Black Acre that joined the dots between African sounds, blues and footworking/bass music, Archie Fairhurst settled down into a groove. ‘Projections’, his debut album on Ninja Tune last year, was much smoother: it still dug deep into the past for samples, but evened out the results into a laid-back listening experience which reached a broad audience, suggesting the possibility that he might do very well for himself as a kind of St Germain, or even Moby, of the 2010s.