Dec 31, 2020

Best electronic albums of 2020: four

4 romare fat roland electronic albums of 2020
4 – Romare – Home (Ninja Tume)

I am a very chilled person. I once thwacked my head getting out of a car and didn't say "ouch" for about ten seconds. My friends who witnessed the incident mentioned that odd response gap for a while afterwards. Fat Roland: he's got lazy neurons.

Home is a stupendously relaxed album. These infectious mid-paced head-nodders lay out like origami unicorns being unfolded by a sloth. Even on bangers such as Sunshine, the lead melody lopes. Should music lope? It does here. At the album's most euphoric moment, the choppy chords of High, we're on an afternoon stroll of 90bpm.

That's not to say it's without its dramatic moments. That first sluggish piano drop. That first seismic bass drop. Often the lack of a drop. The detuned suspense of You See. The half-cooked vocal samples sprinkled throughout, climaxing with that amazing vocal grunt on Heaven. A hint of blues and soul flavouring everything. And wood blocks. Nice to hear some wood blocks.

I'm pretty sure a saxophone appears at one point, but it disappears after half a second: I'm not sure it's heard again. That's the key to Home: dropping in ideas, but holding them back. Creativity through restraint. Romare has taken primary colour tropes – over-simplistic melodies and obvious build-ups – and transformed it into casual tribal techno that I'll be listening to for years. Half the success was simply loading his workstation and mousing down that BPM count.

One positive side of 2020 is that it has been, for some, a year of slowing down. Destressing. Thwacking that head and not worrying about the pain for a while. There's no better accompanying soundtrack than Home.


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