New Grooves: Welcome, Tuesday Born

Coastal Ghana, A small fishing town

Coastal Ghana, A small fishing town

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out these days. I use the term ‘social media’ wryly, but it almost seems an unwritten taboo to not be hooked up to Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter (and all the other more obscure online platforms) if you’re an artist of any reasonable standard. Everyone’s a producer, everyone’s a DJ, and getting your sound out there to the masses is a completely separate (but imperative) art to knowing how to mix and stabbing out genius chord progressions on your  MIDI controller. A few months ago I stumbled upon a young and promising (I wonder how often that’s been said…) producer/musician by the moniker of Tuesday Born. 

Gabriel Benn, hailing from London originally, exercises a vastly colourful palate of sounds and influences. The influence of Afro-beat as well as specifically traditional Ghanaian music is unmistakable in his music, yet the culmination of his sound goes much deeper than this. Coincidentally, like Benn, I myself have been to Africa seven times and with each visit I was further enriched by the illustrious culture of the continent; of course, depending on where you visit you will hear rhythms and melodies that are native to the respective country. This really was an eye-opener and witnessing traditional music (predominantly Gambian) offered me a wonderful perspective outside of Western music. Additionally, Benn’s influence can be seen to span that of deep and tech house as well as the ambience of future garage and South/Latin American grooves – all subtly and artfully blended to create his unique aesthetic.

The first thing about Benn’s music that captivated me was the ease with which some of his tracks merged certain stylistic qualities that are particularly in vogue at the moment along with a subtle taste for the schools that have preceded us. The track above is the first track I had heard from Benn and it’s stunning. Taken from the Mockingbird EP (2012), the hook is shamelessly addictive. A melancholic piano line descends with such grace over restless snare rolls, quietly shuffling in the foreground; indecipherable vocals sigh as pulsing synths add warmth to this intricate beaut of a track. The flip is a funky roller of a distinctly Latin-American flavour, driving percussion rhythms from the maracas and woodblock add movement, while jazz-influenced keys jam on top. Mockingbird can be listened to here.

Benn’s musicianship shines clearly throughout his music and it’s no surprise that as a pianist, the piano features prominently in his work. Jazz-infused harmonies and a strong lyricism characterises his melodies. The Singing In The Dark EP drops today (1st April, no joke) and continues to use many traits that are quickly becoming signature moves by Tuesday Born – reversed piano audio, dreamy vocals, hotly shimmering  synths and drifting lyrical melodies (listen to the EP below). Signed to the fast-established and rising Audio Doughnuts label, the Singing In The Dark EP provides the outfit with a formidable release, delivering rich and hazy ambience that is musically fresh.  The first track, Singing In The Dark, emanates pathos with it’s distant vocals and almost hypnotic piano riff, perpetuated by  intensely rhythmic drums and recently popularised footwork-style beats. Sleep With The Stars continues in a similar vein, with added 808 style drums and lilting synths; the track seems to really come into it’s own after two minutes in. Both songs seem to be very reminiscent of James Blake (whether intentionally or not doesn’t matter), using Blake-esque vocal edits and chord progression/instrumentation that was made hugely popular by him in the wake of his overnight rise to fame. The other two tracks, Wake and Drop The Clouds float around fuzzy-warm synths, driven by snare rims and a delicate blend of finely selected percussion – with flavours of Jacques Greene and Maribou State (blog post on him coming very soon) in there too. The whole EP is mega chill and provides a beautiful dreamy sound-scape to get lost in.

Make sure to check out Benn’s previous release Kwabena (with a nice video to go with it here), and keep an eye out for future releases from this guy. Amazing talent, the beginning of an amazing sonic journey, and maybe I’ll even get to work with Tuesday Born some time in the near future!

Singing In The Dark: