First Listen: Silkie – ‘Majik’ (Anarchostar)

Solomon Rose aka Silkie is by now a veteran of UK club culture. Having cut his teeth in the early 00s, his first track ‘Dark Square’ with Harry Craze was released by then Rinse FM DJ Heny G, when Rose was just 15. He’s since put out two acclaimed albums and a swathe of EPs for labels like Butterz, Deep Medi, Soul Jazz and his own Antisocial Entertainment collective he formed with like-minded artists Quest, Razor Rekta , Jay 5ive and Mizz Beats. A true pioneer of Grime and Dubstep, he’s witnessed the formative years of both and had a major part to play in shaping their sounds in the past decade.

His third album ‘Fractals’ (the first since 2011’s ‘City Limits Vol.2’) is out July 14 on Distal’s Anarchostar imprint, and contains some of Silkie’s most scintillating work to date. It retains many of the beat-centric sounds of past records, with fluttering percussion and floods of hefty low end, though some considerably otherworldly sounds have been added to the Jazz and Funk influences of Rose’s already broad palette.

We’ve got an exclusive stream below of one of our favourite tracks from the album – ‘Majik’. It’s a celestial Trap-infused belter filled with booming kicks, rolling hats and a barrage of cooing pitched vocals. A wide range of his influences come to light  – from the gorgeous R&B ballad piano, to the glistening Grime synths, there’s a profusion of snappy melodies weaving around one another. It’s clear Rose has been honing his chops, as we found out when we caught up with him over email recently. Press play and read on for a quick chat with Silkie ahead of the release next month.

You’re somewhat famous for your hectic touring schedules in the past. What’s it looking like for the rest of the year?

I’m planning an American tour at the moment for August then straight to Outlook, which will be special – I’m really excited about performing on the DMZ 10th anniversary stage. I’m looking forward to announcing more shows as they’re confirmed.

You previously mentioned that it’s hard finding time to listen to new music when you’re already making so much. Has this changed at all when making ‘Fractals’?

Yeah I still rely on Quest for my updates. I am listening to music all the time though, just a lot of old school tunes.

The new album may be your most melodic work to date – is this a conscious decision?

I don’t make many conscious decisions when it comes to music. I think its comes from me studying gospel harmony a bit more in depth, so I could do those chords I would hear in 90s slow jams and incorporate them somehow into my music. I always enjoy learning more about harmony – it’s a bottomless well.

How long has the album been a work in progress?

Maybe a year from inception to release. With the bulk of the work happening from last summer to the new year.

Where both ‘City Limits’ albums felt like they soundtracked urban landscapes – Fractals certainly feels more cosmic. Do you think your experiences in the past few years have contributed to this?

Yeah everything contributes subconsciously. When I make music I’m not really thinking about the bigger picture, I’m just in the moment. Only when the music is listened to together does the tone of the album show itself.

The artwork fits the music of the album very well in the way it’s hugely colourful and has a lot of different elements going on – tell us about the direction of the artwork.

The Argentinian (Córdoba) artist Freshcore (who did the artwork for Distal’s release on Anarchostar) is a good friend of mine from the time I spent in Argentina with his crew Bullybass. The artwork happened in a natural way. I think because he works in music he got the vibe of the tracks and visualised well.

There’s something quite haunting about the story behind the album artwork on the Anarchostar website. Does any of it relate to your experiences or your views on the music industry in general?

Yeah it’s pretty dystopian, but it’s more a story of hope through music and how music is a way of communicating in a language that everyone understands.

How did the decision to release on Distal’s Anarchostar imprint come about?

I first met him in Atlanta in 2011 whilst touring my last album. We hung out for a few days and made a track which later came out on Joe Muggs’ label Sounds Of The Cosmos, so we had the link from there. Around this time last year he sent me his album that he’d just released on Anarchostar, so we thought we’d catch up on skype. He asked me about music and what was happening with tunes etc – so I started sending him lots of tracks, mostly unfinished. As he was listening to the music he said he wanted to release an album from me on the label and I was like ‘yeh sure’, just like that.

‘Fractals’ is out July 14 on Anarchostar. Pre-order it here – for North America here.

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