Archie Fairhurst, better known as London-based beatsmith Romare, is the Ninja Tune artist with a colourful sound. Having studied African American Visual Culture at University, he had his ‘Sex Pistols moment’ when he came across the work of Romare Bearden. The African American’s collaged, cut’n’paste artworks inspired the young musician to apply a similar technique to music – an approach that was hugely fruitful, and remains central to his work today. After stints as a drummer and guitarist throughout school and university, he moved to Paris where he picked up the turntables and began mixing his own music with samples from second hand records.
Fast forward to today and Romare has a wealth of releases on both Ninja Tune and Black Acre. His last full length, Love Songs: Part Two, saw him continue to craft up a blend of magical house and hip hop via his sample science, and he continues to further the possibilities of his unique craft of leftfield dance music through expanding his sound to a live setting, with regular tour performances across the globe.
His next stop is one of the many mouthwatering parties that London’s The Printworks have lined up for the coming season is on Saturday October 27th. Presented by The Hydra, Romare’s live show will feature alongside a heavyweight lineup made up of Roman Flugel, Jeremy Underground, DJ Spinner, Perel, Will Sau and Todd Terje.
In anticipation of the show, we dive into the Londoner’s back catalogue, and pick out five stand out releases.
1. Romare – Je T’aime
Romare has some seriously silky skills. He can play various instruments and is a master of layering dup samples into fresh new sounds. ‘Je T’aime’ off his most recent album is proof of that. It has a playful feel, clever sense of suspense and pumping drums that will get the club on its toes.
2. Romare – Who Loves You
Another one off the same album, this has a beatdown feeling, with heavy, mid tempo drums and a funky, twanging guitar riff propping it up. It has features some shimmering synths of the highest order and mixes up live music with machine music in appealing new ways.
3. Romare – Meditations On Afrocentrism
Its brave to tackle issues of afrocentrism as a white man. Whether Romare should or shouldn’t bother is a long conversation, but judging his work on musical merit alone and you have to agree this one is another classic. One of his earliest works, it’s an experimental track with strong afro drum work and organic percussion that takes you straight to a scorched red sand plain.
4. Romare – All Night (Live Session)
This is one of his most recent cuts – but is still only from 2017 – and is a playful disco tinged house cut that rolls on for nine magical minutes. It has a fat guitar bass underneath it all, carefully chopped vocals and loose, jumbled drums and perc to get you moving.
5. Romare – Rainbow (Club)
One of Romare’s most direct cuts, this one has rubbery drums driving along as a gospel tinged vocal brings the euphoria up top. It’s got toner piano keys and one of his trademark basslines also in the mix and is a joyous number that always gets people in raptures.
Final release tickets for The Hydra present Todd Terje, Roman Flügel, Romare & More are still available.
Purchase them here.
Words: Rob Chadwick