It comes as no surprise to learn that London-based producer Kamau Baaqi is originally from Detroit, as techno seems to come all too naturally to the boy who plies his trade under the name Darling Farah. Still only 20, there’s an astonishing maturity to Baaqi’s style; one that encompasses a hand-picked selection of influences from the worlds of IDM and bass music. A healthy dose of his hometown’s melodic, Detroit soul style can be found in his work, but it’s the minimalism of Berlin that shines through most clearly from an apparent wealth of inspiration.
Unusually, Baaqi honed his craft in the United Arab Emirates – a country known more for its vast, sprawling deserts than its club culture (Baaqi’s town, Sharjah, even enforced a ban on live music), and this solitary desolation seeps into the young producer’s highly sparse brand of minimal techno.
Serving as his debut LP for Civil Music, Body is somehow even more subtle and threadbare than last year’s twin EP releases, ‘Exxy’ and ‘Division’ – threadbare in texture, yet overflowing with invention.
Cuts like ‘Fortune’ and ‘Forget It’ are barely there, so delicately are they arranged from a few refined synth loops and the twisted shuffle of muted kicks. The latter’s companion, ‘Fortune Part II’, turns the original on its head, remodelling its stuttering keys into new and interesting shapes. The title track throws a few vocal chops into the mix, with Baaqi embracing the disembodied voices so adeptly utilised by the best minimal producers. Both ‘Body’ and ‘Realised’ demonstrate the hypnotic power of the loop, with sporadic, marginal alterations made throughout to maintain momentum.
‘Curse’ brings a bit more bite, its distorted and insistent kicks drilling the track through the top of the skull and all the way down to the feet, before ‘Aaangel’ provides a beatless, linking interlude between the first and second halves of the album.
Closer ‘Telling Me Everything’ echoes the cavernous atmospherics of opening track ‘North’, its huge synth pads imitating the swirling desert winds of the Emirates – a hugely impressive end to a similarly impressive album. It would be tempting to say that this kid’s got a future, but that would be doing Baaqi a massive disservice, as he’s already there.
‘Body’ is available now via Civil Music.