The sound of South Africa, cut through the soul of Lisbon and the beating heart of the UK. It’s a complex hotpot of influence but it’s where Poté is coming from. The Paris-based producer’s debut album 'Spiral, My Love' is a mutant beast. At times soft, at others fiercely dark. In its entirety it's a clever, engaging synthesis that holds a mirror up to a young producer emerging with a full-formed and unique sound.
Born in St Lucia, Poté moved to north-west London at 12. His musical journey began with a link up with Lisbon-based gqom label Enchufada. 2015 saw him release his debut EP for the label and put out the 'Oryx' EP for free. Producing rollicking baile funk inspired beats from his UK home, he eventually moved to Paris where he now resides.
Poté’s output - including tracks on his own label Versicolor - garnered him a solid reputation. He appeared on the radar of Deviation Music boss Benji B. With the backing of the tastemaker his profile increased. Now, his debut appears on the influential selector’s own label, Deviation Music.
'Spiral, My Love' fits neatly into the canon of diasporic music Benji B has made a career of cultivating. Deviation’s epic club nights are a home to a whole spectrum of genres. But the underlying connection between those styles is a bass-heavy, club-ready feel. Poté’s debut LP sits neatly in that canon.
On the LP, Poté is riding a fast moving current of swung, club-ready bass. His slick production might obscure this violent undercurrent but it’s there, always. This low-range intensity is the connecting thread in a wide-ranging effort where tracks pivot from joyous, uplifting electronica ('Mortal') to glacial, sinister gqom ('Roleplay'). On 'Untune' Kojey Radical rides an electro-tinged beat with his signature drawl. His languid, heavy-eyed style and Poté’s swung rhythm dance around one another.
At 25 minutes this cross-pollination of international sounds is short enough to leave the listening hooked and lusting for more. The songs sound cohesive but at points it feels as if the tracks could have been explored further. Often, they feel like they end before having truly taken off. But 'Spiral, My Love’s brevity suggests Poté has not exhausted his bank of musical ideas. There’s clearly more to come, and hopefully soon.
He’s played for Rinse, toured with Bonobo and travelled as part of Damon Albarn's’ Kano-featuring sonic carnival, Africa Express (Albarn even co-produced the album opener). Quite a résumé, and one that proves him as a tastemaker’s darling. 'Spiral, My Love' could well make him the darling of the public at large.
Words: Alex Green
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