The Beardytron has landed. A feat of mankind and a possible contender for the seven wonders of the world. It's also the vehicle that allowed Darren Foreman (aka Beardyman) to harness the intense stream of musical ideas running throughout his consciousness, drawing them out into the real word.
Beginning his career as a beatboxer in 2005, Foreman went on establish himself as a champion in the genre. But with the growing recognition for his work, so came the development of the 'Beardyman' character. Naturally mischievous, he injected a huge dose of wit into his earlier work. His debut album 'I Done A Album' was typically comedic, with Foreman later admitting that it was a novelty record created more for fun than for artistic credibility, a reaction to the role he had cast himself him.
His live shows are largely improvised, acting in part as experimental sounding boards for Foreman's work. As his discomfort with the categorisation and limitations of his initial incarnation grew, his forays into performing his own material developed and he began to break away. However, Foreman found himself unable to translate his ideas into something tangible, realising that the technology he was using was restricting his ability to progress. His response was to get rid of every piece of equipment he was using and start from scratch. He built his own equipment with the help of three leading software developers and thus the Beardytron 5000 was born unto the world.
Revered for his intense vocal abilities, Foreman has honed his skill and pushed it to the outer limits of human possibility. The natural progression from here was to transition into an artist to be taken seriously, creating technically impressive albeit soulful music. Foreman's experience in improvisation and live producing has been skillfully harnessed into a revolutionary second album, that took three careful years to make, aptly titled 'Distractions'. Foreman is stylistically unbound and with no parameters for his newly honed material he is able to create freely. His passion to push the boundaries of production and technical ability has allowed Foreman to successfully surpass the 'Beardyman' character and establish himself as a critically-acclaimed producer, in what resonates as a personal evolution.
The latest release from the album is Mountainside, which much like its album counterparts speaks truthfully. Whilst the track is undeniably one of the more accessible offerings on the album, it still manages to resonate more profoundly. A reflection of Foreman's own personal story, the track is like an emotional probe into his mind, acting as an intimate and unexpected look into Beardyman's psyche. The balmy boy/girl melodies are offset with pinches of funk guitar and an almost Balearic vibe. A foreboding undercurrent evokes a feeling of dulled euphoria, the message is wistful but hints at loss and betrayal.
The video was conceptually put together by Lewis Rose and Foreman himself as a humorous take on what you might call a contemporary experience of love. It wouldn't feel right if Foreman's new work was completely bereft of the sly wit that he naturally embodies, so the playfulness of the video is well received. It starts in typically Beardyman style, with the man himself seen at the decks of a tunnel-like club shouting to the audience "are you ready for some fucking drum and bass?" The tone then decelerates from brightly lit madness into a dreamily muted world. Two people catch each other's gaze across the dance floor and they embroil themselves in a sweaty meeting of the minds and hearts, a modern day love story for the club generation (with added gurn). On the surface it's a humorous affair, with references to club culture that many will recognise, a tongue-in-cheek view on life and love most likely inspired by Foreman's time in similar surroundings. Scratch the surface however and you will find deeper resonations. Loneliness, lack of control and loss are all deftly depicted and the change between the fast-paced fun of the intro into a more introspective state of mind succinctly reflects Foreman's own monumental journey.
Beardyman released his critically-acclaimed album 'Distractions' on Tummy Touch Records.