February 25th, 2015
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When I was a kid and I heard the word “techno” I imagined a series of robotic bleeps and bloops, and it scared me because I associated it with that scene from The Matrix where Trinity meets Neo in that club and gets all up in his ear and whispers disconcertingly sexy things like “I know why you can’t sleep Neo.” It was too many feels, and I decided right there to “leave the techno to the Europeans, I’m gonna go buy the 8 Mile soundtrack.”

I’ve come a long way since then, and the only thing that I was correct about was that Europeans know their electronic music: London native Barbarossa’s new track brings me back to that moment with the same sort of shame you feel when you see your Facebook statuses (stati?) from six years ago or the pictures of your haircut at Junior Prom. I wish I could go back, slap a little sense into myself, and play myself this song.

Following up 2013’s Bloodlines by abandoning the folk frills of his past work and fully embracing his robotic heart, Barbarossa has announced a new album, Imager, and has released the title track to our very happy ears. A pensive soundscape behind a bouncy synth track smeared in melancholy vocals laden with rich harmonies – the harmonies are, perhaps, the last vestige of his folk past – resulting in a beautifully crafted track.

This isn’t the type of electronic music where an artist comes up with an idea and you can hear them squeezing every last drop of life out of it before moving onto the next single. This is an old-fashioned song, crafted with modern tools in a modern voice. If you’ve ever been to a Sylvan Esso show and seen the way the singer dances, that’s the exact dance I’m doing alone in my room.

If title tracks are at all emblematic of a whole album’s sound, Imager is going to be something truly dope and surprisingly boogie-licious. Memphis Industries is going to release the album on May 12th, and you can be damn sure I’ll have my robo-dance perfected by then.