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A Magazine for Sheffield

Colours of a Red Brick Raft

Variety is the spice of life, and this is clearly something that Manchester’s electronic music extraordinaire Werkha lives by, adding all manner of spiciness across his debut album, Colours of a Red Brick Raft.

Based in the afrobeat/downtempo/soul hybrid familiar to fans of Bonobo - perhaps unsurprisingly, given they have toured together - Werkha collects a myriad of influences that make this album very hard to pin to a single genre. At times, comparison could be drawn to the bass-heavy future house of XXYYXX, the abstract tones of Jon Hopkins and the pop-laced electro glory of Caribou, but these are fleeting references. Werkha really is his own beast.

Instrumental tracks like ‘Flinch/Quiver’ and ‘Houses of Saffron’ showcase Werkha’s inventive production style, and the blend of live instruments alongside electronic sounds throughout means that the experience never becomes stale. Employing two talented, soulful female singers across four of the tracks (Bryony Jarman-Pinto and Alex Rita), Werkha shows that his music is equally suited to interplay with the voice as it is to stand alone, and it is impossible to decide which approach is preferable.

The vibe of the album veers from chilled and jazzy (‘City Shuffle’), to melancholic and reflective (‘Border Kite’), to straight-up floor-filling dance (‘Dim the Light’). These seemingly disparate atmospheres are so beautifully woven together and share such a cohesive underlying warmth that the album hangs together as a supreme body of work, and one that should help Werkha to stand out above the crowd.

Richard Spencer