B2 The River
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Romare—real name Archie Fairhurst—returns with his new album “Home”, marking his 3rd on Ninja Tune and first full length album since 2016’s critically acclaimed “Love Songs: Part Two”. It follows the recently released ‘Gone / Danger’ 12”, his most direct dancefloor record to date, which Resident Advisor described as “An engrossing eight minutes of cinematic house music”.
Romare’s music has always sat comfortably in both the dancefloor world and a more relaxed environment, “Home” being no exception. With euphoric, uplifting moments on ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Heaven’ through to more meditative and melancholy moments on ‘Deliverance’. “For me, the sweet point in music is when happy and sad come together” comments Fairhurst, “when they meet in the middle, that’s what I try to create”.
The release of “Home” comes after a lifetime of being on the move for Fairhurst, he spent his childhood travelling constantly with his family as his parents moved around the world for work, before finally settling in the UK. This nomadic lifestyle would continue with his burgeoning career as a musician taking him off touring the world (playing over 150 shows in the last 2 years alone). Which brings us to “Home”, The new album marks a new chapter in Fairhust’s life with a move out of London to the countryside and starting a family, a move which has “given me peace and quiet” he comments. The new addition of his own home-built studio adds to this feeling of being content and settled, having worked from various bedroom studios in the past.
Shifting from themes of love and romance on “Love Songs: Part Two”, “Home” explores spirituality, identity and belonging. “Identity and a sense of belonging is something I've been searching for more since becoming a father,” he explains, “growing up I was always around lots of people from different backgrounds, my own identity sometimes felt lost”. It see’s Fairhurst pull from the more unusual records in his collection for inspiration, delving into american gospel and traditional irish folk through to country, religious hymns and classical (with a special nod to composers Thomas Tallis and Vaugn Williams). “I always want to explore different sounds and genres from different countries and backgrounds” comments Fairhurst. During the past few years Fairhurst has moved away from purely sample based music, developing his use of instruments in his music and experimenting with different tools, both old and new. These tools include a vintage organ he found in a local charity shop, his dad's old 12-string guitar, re-assembling his childhood drum kit from the 90’s and a tape player which allowed him to start sampling from cassette tape.
Both previous albums have received impressive press pick up across the board. “Projections”, voted 2015 Album of the Year by DJ Mag and “Love Songs: Part Two” which received praise from the likes of Pitchfork, Dazed, Loud and Quiet and Mixmag, who described it as "Precisely the sort of confounding of expectations we love to hear, and bodes well for a long, interesting career" in their 9/10 review. His tracks have also been championed across the radio spectrum by Annie Mac, Benji B, Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart at BBC Radio 1; Gilles Peterson, Lauren Laverne, Tom Ravenscroft, Mary Anne Hobbs and Nemone at BBC 6 Music; In the US by Zane Lowe at Beats 1, and DJs from KCRW, NTS, Triple J and many more.
Towards the end of 2019 Romare set out on a US tour which included live shows at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Los Angeles’ 1720 and August Hall in San Francisco. Over the last few years he’s played shows at London venues Printworks, KOKO and Oval Space, plus two sold out month-long residencies, first at Phonox and mostly recently at the Jazz Cafe. Festival appearances have included Primavera, All Points East, Parklife and Dimensions.
The album artwork, created by Fairhurst himself, uses a collage technique consisting of black and white cut-out images. “In this artwork each cut-out resembles an artist or group sampled in the album”, comments Fairhurst.