After the release of the stunning Pulsing EP last month, Tomas Barfod has announced a new album Love Me for release on June 10th via Secretly Canadian. To celebrate the release of Love Me, Tomas Barfod has made a mini-mix from the album, featuring new music from the album. Listen to the mini-mix here. Tomas will also be playing select DJ dates this spring. Full tour dates above.
Back in the summer of 2012, Danish dance music polymath Tomas Barfod released his debut solo album, the sophisticated mesh of electronics that is Salton Sea. Lauded by the likes of Pitchfork, Dazed & Confused andGorilla vs Bear, its success took Barfod slightly by surprise. Inspired by a move to LA and mainly written and recorded on the road, it was an album that was imbued with a sense of spontaneity and experimentation. Its success has paved the way for the forthcoming follow-up, Love Me, an album that continues this spirit of adventurousness but takes it to a whole new level. Utilising a supporting cast that includes a string and brass section, and the likes of Here We Go Magic's Luke Temple and long-term collaborator Nina Kinert on vocal duties, it's a multi-layered album that effortlessly pushes and pulls pop and electronic music into a myriad different shapes.
This is where his recent EP, Pulsing, and forthcoming second album Love Me come in. While the crystalline rush ofSalton Sea was created mainly in fits and starts, the new album is more precise, more defined and ultimately crafted into more fully-formed pop songs. "Salton Sea was a bit more of a laptop album whereas with this new one I spent more time working with analogue gear and bringing in string arrangers and using Jeppe's guitar playing, he says, referencing his bandmate. "I've been getting into more vintage synthesizers on this new one too. I think there's a bit more of a focus on the songs." While still keeping his debut's intimate delicacy and beautiful sense of fragility, this follow-up is also more audacious, as showcased on the sweeping strings of the lovely 'Aftermath'. "The first one was done kind of randomly when I had some time. This one I had a budget so I had the chance to do some things I normally wouldn't be able to do. I feel like I've had much more time and the chance to notch everything up a bit."
That's not to say that it's been over-produced to rid it of all its soul, mind you. Asked if he's a perfectionist, Barfod replies, "Both yes and no. I believe that what works instantly is almost always the best thing. I have done everything to make this album as organic as possible. I've been exploring the randomness of real people and analog equipment, which means that most instruments on the album are not straight - either on the beat or on the pitch. For example, most of the drums, both acoustic and electronic, are played live and not corrected by the computer and I have live horns, guitar, bass, percussion and even a full string arrangement on the album."
This coalescing of the real and the analog is highlighted by the guest vocalists, who range from long-term collaborator Nina Kinert on the lovely electro-squelch of "Pulsing" and the bouncing electropop of "Busy Baby" and American singer-songwriter Luke Temple on the poignant "Bell House." From the start, Barfod was acutely aware that in order for these songs to come to life they needed to have vocals, even if piecing it all together was like finishing a puzzle. "Often I'll have a track that's good but when the vocals are on it the songs grows so much," he explains. "It's always a big puzzle actually. I have to pick the right songs for each vocalist and they write to it."
With so much going on, it would be easy to assume that Barfod's solo career is just a sideline, or a hobby in-between remixing, producing for other acts or working with WhoMadeWho. One listen to the Pulsing EP or Love Me, however, should make it very obvious that this is where his heart is. Love Me is a multi-layered, endlessly rewarding, organic-sounding electronic album utilising real heart and soul, flitting between enigmatic instrumentals like '"Mandalay" and the bubbling drama of the keening, Night Beds-featuring "Want To Tell You." "My career so far has been pretty random," he laughs. "It all started with me saying 'maybe I should put out a song', then 'maybe I should put out an EP' and then the album . . . and that did well for me almost out of nowhere. I didn't necessarily expect anything from it. With this album, however, I knew what I wanted to make; something that people would love and that would stand the test of time." Mission accomplished.
Photo Credit: Martin Bubandt
Tomas Barfod - Love Me
(Secretly Canadian - June 10th)
1. Bell House (Feat. Luke Temple)
2. Pulsing (Feat. Nina K)
3. Destiny's Child
4. Busy Baby (Feat. Nina K)
5. Honey (Feat. Sleep Party People)
6. Blue Matter (Feat. Jeppe Kjellberg)
7. Waiting For Us (Feat. Nina K)
9. Sell You (Feat. Night Beds)
10. Lost (Feat. Pell)