For those who know, Bambooman is one of the most sought after, probing, and distinctive voices in UK electronic music right now.
The Yorkshire born producer’s catalogue builds into an aural mosaic, comprising everything from scrunched up hip-hop to techno deviance, all delivered with an impish sense of individuality.
Yet now, after six meandering but inspired EPs, Bambooman is ready to break with all this and drop his debut album ‘Whispers’. “I choose to release an album at this point as I felt I was finally confident enough with my sound and techniques to make the album I wanted to make,” he says. “I was careful to make it as honest and original as possible, whilst at the same time paying homage to the music and artists who have most inspired me.”
“It’s more honest than my previous work,” he insists, “and it resonates with me more.”
‘Whispers’ certainly resonates. It’s a lengthy, bucolic work, an album of great breadth but also one of sustained mood – think those hazy summer evenings when shadows stretch out across the road, and autumn lingers around the corner.
In contrast to last year’s ‘Feel’ EP – his first on new home Accidental Recordings – this new album has a dusty, organic, and decidedly personal feel, much more at home with Jon Hassel’s ‘fourth world’ aesthetic than the club.
“I used lots of music concrete and electro-acoustic style processing techniques on the recordings across the album, which helped to give the sounds a more other-worldly aesthetic.”
“I tried to demonstrate the more personal techniques and processes I have developed over the years within the tracks, to give them more character and originality.”
The results are also imbued with an incredible sense of mystery, with Bambooman’s productions frequently being shot through with a hallucinatory sense of the uncanny. Entirely self-composed, ‘Whispers’ utilises “lots of field recordings that I’ve collected over the last few years, while within the tracks you can find lots of the instruments, percussion, bells and whistles that have been gathered throughout my life.”
In certain ways ‘Whispers’ is entirely autobiographical: Bambooman reaches back to his varied alter egos, to the ambient releases, art commissions, and soundtrack projects that litter his discography. The cover art was even pieced together by Oliver Pitt – of Glasgow group Golden Teacher – who was an early ally in the producer’s sonic quest.
Stylistically ‘Whispers’ veers from avant hip-hop of Flying Lotus to the theoried composition of Terry Riley, from the future-forward percussive energy of Battles to the ever-evolving electronics of Mark Pritchard. It’s a record marks by a fiercely independent spirit, but also by a close-knit cast of collaborators.
King Kashmere takes a starring turn, following the pair’s collision on the recent ‘SUPERGOD’ EP. “To me he was and still is the most talented and forward thinking MC in the UK, and has proven this time and time again,” explains Bambooman. “He’s a true wordsmith and has the great voice and clarity to match.”
Segilola is becoming a permanent fixture in the producer’s work, and her voice helps push him down fresh avenues. “It didn't make sense to make a debut album without her powerful and beautiful voice making an appearance on it,” he admits.
Each vocal is recorded, chopped up and then spliced across the album, with Elsa Hewitt also making a number of appearances and re-appearances. “It’s been really interesting working with her vocals,” he enthuses. “I sometimes think she sounds quite 90s on my tracks – but in a good way, if that makes any sense!”
A wonderfully picturesque, intensely visual experience, ‘Whispers’ is set to be followed by a number of live shows. Bambooman will launch the LP at East London’s creative hot-house Total Refreshment Centre on August 10th, before flying out to Montreal for the ever-vital MUTEK Festival.
The ‘Whispers’ album was partly funded by PRS Foundation.