Leamington Spa based musical prodigy Bastien Keb has hit the ground running with his debut album Drinking In The Shadows Of Zizou on One-Handed Music, who follows labelmates Mo Kolours and Paul White in bringing dusty, lo-fi, soul-infused beats to the world. Drawing on a wide range of influences from Sun Ra and Curtis Mayfield, to the Birmingham based indie-electronic group Broadcast, Keb carves a modern yet individual sound making this one of the most sonically interesting releases of the year so far.
His talent as a multi-instrumentalist comes shining through in ‘Down River’, as he lays down subtly-layered guitar rifts, drum claps and resonating trumpets forming a rich percussive mix akin to Thudercat’s latest material. ‘Doodlebag’ is something else all together but again pays tribute to Keb’s multi faceted nature, presented in a striped back style with drum echos and an eerie sounding synth carrying you through. He manages to conjure magical, almost psychedelic orientations in his music, but still retains a human essence in his sound that is harder than you might expect to reproduce.
‘Chicken Stomp’ is a nostalgic affair with lifting trumpets cementing a far-out jazz sound. As the track builds so does Keb’s masterful use of instruments to create depth and seamless transitions between style breaks, allowing for more layered vocals to shine through as he twists his voice into multiple forms. The same could be said for ‘Peardrops’, which has a clear hip-hop influence but with Keb’s experimental flavour thrown in. ‘A Beat Without A Heart’ is a future classic with its laid back drum beats forming a core tempo and layered guitar rifts providing the necessary depth. Trumpets, again, provide that higher level and some clever breaks are worked in using Mr Scruff-esq. samples. ‘Pork Belly’ transports you straight to a hot lazy summers afternoon and never really lifts its head above the haze – glorious. ‘Down Shoe Gum’ is another sumptuously layered, organic sounding beat with lightly plucked guitars echoing over a strong trumpet feature. The other stand out track on the album, ‘Love Just Died Tonight’, is a real gem, with its woozy sounding drum machine beats and classic bubbly synths entrenched with Keb’s layered vocals.
A truly original debut album and one that sits among our favourites of the year so far.