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Cameron Reed released two EPs as Babe Rainbow for Warp Records back in 2010 and 2011, moving from skewed hip hop beats and abstract soundscapes towards more textural, ambient music. Production for Lil B and Main Attrakionz fell when "cloud rap" was the genre term being flung around. But Reed hasn't released anything as Babe Rainbow for a few years. But he's hardly been resting on his laurels in that time – among other things, he was a touring member of How To Dress Well's band, and got a new job with Toronto label Arts & Crafts.
Earlier this year, however, Reed announced that he would release his long-in-the-pipeline debut album as Babe Rainbow. Titled 'Falling Apart', it's an altogether less hazy ride than his earlier music: an electronic record of exploratory, genre-free compositions, sounding clear, uncluttered, level-headed, and ultimately very human.
Babe Rainbow's first Dummy Mix – made for us way back in 2011 – was one of our most popular of all time. When Reed asked if we'd be up for hosting another, we jumped at the opportunity. A 45-minute selection that he's subtitled "Art Is A Complaint", it's a diverse affair featuring everyone from Outkast to OPN, Arthur Russell to Avro Pärt.
Babe Rainbow: "I'm good, thank you. Listening to this new Ben Frost album while sitting at my desk at the moment. Very relaxing."
Can you tell us a bit about this mix?
Babe Rainbow: "It's a collection of songs and artists that have inspired or left an impression on me over that last few years. I was really interested to see if I could make this kind of eclectic mix seamless. I think it worked out."
Your album is called 'Falling Apart'. But actually, things seem to have come together a bit more for you recently. Why the title?
Babe Rainbow: "It's a mantra or a maxim that nothing ever stays the same. We are always rebuilding. We are always recalibrating. There is no equilibrium. There's no control. Accepting that is very liberating."
It's taken a bit for this record to come out. What have you been occupying yourself with since your first Babe Rainbow EPs?
Babe Rainbow: "I was laid off from an advertising agency, I started a company with my best friends, toured the 'Endless Path' EP, wrote and acted in a short web series for a Canadian broadcaster, I wrote about Canadian politics for Vice, I lost 30lbs, I joined How To Dress Well's touring band for a while, I moved to a different city, I got a job at a record label. There have been a few changes since 2011."
I read a while back that you'd decided to change from Babe Rainbow to your own name… but 'Falling Apart' comes out under the Babe Rainbow moniker once again. Why the change in heart for your change in heart?
Babe Rainbow: "I hastily abandoned the moniker in a moment of frustration. It was more of a statement that I was abandoning electronic music (as if anyone would care) in my mind. I eventually gave me head a shake and got back to it. My girlfriend is also a big fan of Babe Rainbow so that helped get me back into it!"
When you made us a Dummy Mix in 2011, you said that "it’s undeniable (to me at least) that the most exciting thing happening right now are these kids building mini empires for themselves. Artists like Main Attrakionz, Lil B, [and] Odd Future." It's been three years since that – what would you say is undeniably the most exciting thing that's happening today?
Babe Rainbow: "There are a lot of small tape and digital labels that have been blowing my mind lately. Brooklyn's Godmode, Vancouver's 1080p and ASL Singles Club, and London's KALEIDOSCOPE. When you get rid of all the marketing and hype, you have to ask 'does the music (or catalogue) stand on its own?' These labels are putting out more consistently interesting music with minimal budgets than most traditional indies nowadays. It's a great reminder that the essence of the entire industry is a good ear and great music."
What else have you got coming up?
Babe Rainbow: "I'm just excited to be writing more music again. I took quite a long break in 2012/2013, so I'm really just having fun with it. I'm planning on releasing some b-sides from 'Falling Apart' soon-ish. I have a collection of minimalist meditations/demos I wrote on piano over the last year or so that I'm hoping to release in September. Lots more music on the way."
01. John Cage recorded at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, in 1989
02. Trust Blush (demo)
03. TCF ae3f3c9a1faf1d1f7288d16148703afb8b3e66f0afdf049217e6193b268
04. Andy Stott Dark Details
05. Joane Skyler Foam
06. Lubomyr Melnyk The Eastern Horn (For 2 Pianos And 3 Contrabass) [Excerpt]
07. Wim Mertens Gentlemen of Leisure
08. Arthur Russell In Light Of The Miracle
09. Pender Street Steppers Openin Up
10. Arca Manners (Blend)
11. Konk Your Life
12. Heartbeat(s) Hocus Pocus (feat. Angelina Lucero)
13. Liquid Liquid Locked Groove (In)
14. Brian Eno & Robert Fripp Altair
15. Outkast Da Art Of Storytellin’, Pt. 1
16. Oneohtrix Point Never He She
17. Ricky Eat Acid God puts us all in the swimming pool
18. Avro Pärt My Heart's In The Highlands
19. Nick Krgovich Constant Craving (k.d. lang cover)
20. Lana Del Ray Born To Die (Clams Casino Remix Instrumental)
21. Ensemble Economique Everything I Have, I Give To You
22. The Microphones Instrumental
23. Dan Mangan & Amy Millan Chances Are (Instrumental)
24. John Cage recorded at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, in 1989
Kinky Beggar released 'Falling Apart' on July 7th 2014 (buy).