Robyn is described as an album aimed at “elevating and amplifying left-field black music.” It’s architect, Bradley Miller (a.k.a. cktrl), presents a sound that can’t be easily pinned down to a specific genre. Which makes sense given his background as one of the original DJs on essential forward-thinking UK radio station NTS, and previous collaborations with fellow iconoclasts like Sampha, Kelela and Dean Blunt.
When I first saw the cover for Robyn, the intense imagery made me think it was going to be on some noisecore, scream-o type music, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Robyn is comprised of six compositions, part jazz, part classical, wholly experimental and stunning throughout. Driven by cktrl’s delicate clarinet and saxophone playing, the songs are lush, meditative soundscapes accentuated by the piano playing of another London trailblazer, Duval Timothy. cktrl says of the album: “at its core is heartbreak and is just really sentimental. It’s a journey of losing a love but it ends with optimism as you find strength to love again.” This visceral emotional weight is felt clearly throughout the album. The whole things is just overflowing with beauty. It’s gorgeous stuff and I can’t recommend it enough.