I remember sitting in a conference that R&S Records Renaat Vandepapliere was speaking at a couple of years ago. Throughout the hour, in his charismatic brilliance, he touched on many elements of dance music that bothered him, including the concept album. Using Jeff Mills live show collaboration with light artist Guillaume Marmin as a reference, he stated that if an artist wants to make a concept album they should make films instead of music.
I wonder what he would think of Murlo and his new record, 'Dolos'? After all, the Manchester based artist has made film in addition to his music - albeit short, science fiction inspired animations that run beautifully alongside his productions. In fact, Renaat would perhaps argue that Murlo's music doesn't belong to dance music at all. It does seem a rather bland way to describe the Coil Records creators output - an imaginative and quite distinctive take on UK Garage, funky, dancehall, bassline, grime and ambient.
If all this talk of concept albums and unique blends of sound is confusing you, then where have you been? Murlo has clocked up releases on a number of exciting labels - Mixpak, Swing Ting, Butterz, Glacial Sound and more - with each sounding increasingly different than the last.
Inspired by the cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson, the worlds of Studio Ghibli, places he has toured and lived and his father (who taught him how to shade and draw at a young age), Murlo has united the worlds of illustration and music.
You have may have seen his work via his Instagram or on NTS Radio's socials, where he holds down a residency - Coil Radio. On 'Dolos', however, he has stretched his creativity to incredible new heights. The 15 track album, which came out on his own Coil Records label, is accompanied by a 36 page graphic novel (designed entirely by the artist himself) which tells the story of a man who escapes the city in search of solace.
The combination of both score and visual results in an imaginative odyssey. 'Evaporate' and 'Fauna' (the first two tracks on the record) literally feel like a man trying to escape - the high velocity tones (which have become a staple of Murlo's productions) paint a picture of a furious longing to swap concrete claustrophobia for tropical relief.
Ambient territory is encountered on tracks such as 'Watching The Sun Through Eyelids' and 'Ferment', both of which offer experiences of escape and elation. It's utterly engrossing from start to finish.
Be it the emotionally stimulating pitched vocals of 'Limbo' and 'End Of The Road', or Murlo's own futuristic take on contemporary classical on 'Peace', this romantic, poetic and ingenious artist is showcasing why he is the most exciting electronic composer around right now.
Words: Andrew Moore
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