Plug into Shelter Point’s textural electronic soundscapes, C.Duncan’s methodical tribal beats and silky R&B vocals from Ray BLK
Words Felix Clarke
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Classically trained and boasting a phenomenal talent for mixing his soft vocal with enchanting keyboards and drums, C. Duncan is surely one of the most musically talented artists around. The Glaswegian emerged on stage with his team at the legendary venue that is the ICA with understated charm, dressed all in black. The gig had the feeling of a classical performance about it, with simple lighting, understated outfits and a total absence of branding or visuals – even the laptop’s Apple logo had a piece of black tape over it. Although I love a powerful pyrotechnic display, this sans approach undeniably enhanced the performance’s sonic beauty.
Having avidly listened to his first two albums, 2015 Mercury Prize-nominated Architect and his latest The Midnight Sun, both deftly balanced, it was wonderful to hear the ICA’s acoustics transform the sound I knew so well from my headphones.
The 27-year-old played a soothing mix of new and old tracks; the staccato, euphoric Other Side morphed into On Course, then slipped fluidly into the magical depths of Jupiter. Say, the big hit from his debut Architect, was a peak moment of the night, lifting the room with its methodical tribal charm.
Think Bombay Bicycle Club meets Wild Beasts and you’re almost there, but truly C.Duncan is in a sonic league all of his own
Although not one of the most visually wowing live shows this year, C. Duncan’s sound hits the mark on so many levels, spinning relaxing, ethereal melodies that will satisfy your soul. Think Bombay Bicycle Club meets Wild Beasts and you’re almost there, but truly C.Duncan is in a sonic league of his own.
Having made her name with raw, straight-talking tracks 5050 and Talk To Me, both characterised by their colourful portrayals of life in south London, the seven track mini-album Durt makes a welcome addition to Ray BLK’s mix. With silky R&B vocals reminiscent of a ‘90s Smooth Grooves album, the rising singer’s sound is unmistakably British, filled with cryptic stories of love, lust, longing and her home turf, with production similar to what you might hear on a Disclosure album. “Cos I only want you when I’m lonely, on a late night, on a Friday with some high-grade,” she sings on Chill Out over a deep, soft synth.
The rising singer’s sound is unmistakably British, filled with cryptic stories of love, lust, longing and her home turf…
Tracks Hunny and My Hood feat. Stormzy showcase BLK’s range of vocal styles, as she switches from rap to technical voice control with natural versatility. Watch out for more of this one-woman powerhouse in the near future.
Since bursting onto the scene a few years back with Forever For Now, Nottingham-based duo Shelter Point have won over the ears of big tastemakers including Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Zane Lowe – and guess what? We love them too.
Their latest release Velvet sees the pair’s trademark astral sound gravitate into dense, melancholic territory, conjuring up a vision of drifting through space thanks to its distinctive shooting sonics. Sampha-like vocals bring a relaxed elegance to the track, heightening the mystical vibe of its production.
Velvet sees the pair’s trademark astral sound gravitate into dense, melancholic territory, conjuring up a vision of drifting through space
Rumour has it that Shelter Point have been working with 3-time Grammy-winner Steve Dub, who has previously collaborated with the likes of Leftfield, New Order, Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream and Underworld, so it’s safe to say we’re really looking forward to seeing what sonic intricacies this exciting duo have in store for 2017.
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