OTW #446: Romare

Cerebral Juke House...
Romare by Cameron Alexander for Clash magazine

We’ve come to expect the electronically perverse from Black Acre Records, but Romare takes the proverbial biscuit. His inspiration is Africa. His approach is academic. His execution is cultured. The result: mind-blowing. His name is inspired by the late artistic marvel, Romare Bearden. Where Bearden explored African-American culture through collage, our protagonist producer explores it through sound, using collected samples from his studies to replicate the collage effect. “I started to collect records, films and documentaries that helped enrich my knowledge of African and AfricanAmerican music,” begins Romare.

“In Paris, I discovered some great record shops that stocked rare records. I started to build a collection of source material to use.” From rare vinyl to old documentary clips, the vault began to fill.

The method is a manifestation of adolescent curiosities, starting with his father’s music collection: “He played a lot of Delta blues and other traditional American folk music… the voices of black singers stood out and made a massive impression on me.” The exploration continued into university life, and a dissertation on Miles Davis led him to jazz, blues, spirituals and worksongs. Romare enlightens: “I wanted to find the root to all these genres, and the answer was Africa.” The fruit of these endeavours finally surfaced back in March, through his ‘Meditations On Afrocentrism’ EP. These are not only songs, but conversations.

Race, identity, activism and culture are all embraced as Romare sews his research into modern structures, using juke and footwork to guide a journey between Africa and African-America. “I wanted to make a sort of musical essay where the samples would act like footnotes and convey a particular theme to the listener.” The result is a phenomenal piece of work, on which you’ll find one of the most unparalleled electronic songs of 2012: ‘Down The Line (It Takes A Number)’. Starting from tiny beginnings it builds like an accelerating wave. Subtle and huge. Combining oscillating purrs of acid basslines with rapid vocals cuts, in a hip-hop gait.

With his crosshairs firmly fixed on the theme of love for his next EP, late 2012 could prove the making of a new type of producer: the storyteller.

Words by Joe Zadeh
Photo by Cameron Alexander
Hair and Make-Up by Anne Sophie Costa using MAC


WHERE: London
WHAT: Cerebral Juke House
GET 3 SONGS: Down The Line (It Takes A Number), I Wanna Go Back (Turn Back), The Blues (It Began In Africa)
UNIQUE FACT: Due to copyright obstructions, Romare wasn't able to credit all the samples used on his E.P. as he wished, and he views the E.P. as a concept unrealised.

 

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