Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
While Koreless’s releases to date have always possessed an openness and disinterest in aligning themselves with any definable type, we were still quietly floored by the breadth and bravery of the ‘Yugen’ EP. Released on Young Turks last week, Lewis Roberts’s newest offering is a masterclass in the limitless possibilities and emotions that can be found in the sparsest of synthetic sound.
It’s a release full of intricacies: while Sun – a pulsating sci-fi epic with its arms wide open – is the track most will be familiar with, just as impressive is its moodier antithesis No Sun. Beginning with growling machinic whirrs, here the worship to the blue, sunny skies is turned into something murkier, a ritual for the midnight hour. Bookending ‘Yugen’ are the more overtly ambient Ivana and Never, whose synth stylings hold a sophistication offering comparisons to Oneohtrix Point Never. Like stirring Lopatin cuts such as Child Soldier, throughout ‘Yugen’ the rapidity of Roberts’s clipped sounds even come off like some liquified, futuristic take on footwork’s fervent set-up. It’s also refreshing to see Roberts is staying loyal to the spaciousness of ‘Yugen’s’ sound in his live show, as shown in his hypnotic performance at Field Day last week.
We threw a couple of quick questions at the man himself, about ‘Yugen’, summer shows, and why a Werner Herzog documentary about caves may have one of the finest soundtracks around.
Koreless – Last Remnants
Hi Koreless, how’s your day been so far?
Hectic, moving flat for the third time in 12 months.
When we spoke to you in 2011 you said ‘I’m not fussed about… making big hitters that everyone is playing for a week. I’d rather make a beautiful album’, and it really feels like you’ve nailed that with ‘Yugen’. Has this release been a long time coming?
Ha, that was a long time ago! My first ever interview in fact. Yeah it has, I spent a while making a lot of music, and lots of different versions of it but this was the first time it felt right to release it.
Have you found a freedom in making beatless music? Is it easier to think beyond specific genres and scenes?
Yeah that’s the thing, I’m not trying to make beatless music or anything, I’m just not trying to make anything and it ended up like that. I didn’t do it for the sake of it, it’s just what came out the other end.
Sun has become such a staple opener in DJ sets lately, but it’s not even the first track on ‘Yugen’! Was there any surprise on your part when it started getting played out so much?
I did actually make it for clubs, to be played loud. It’s very simple and stripped back so I think it works.
There’s something undeniably filmic about the scope of your work. What’s your favourite movie soundtrack?
You’ve got a slew of summer festival dates lined up – any you’re particularly excited about?