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Bicep explore 'Isles' on new album

Listen to lead single 'Apricots' below

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Photo: Dan Medhurst
  • 6 October 2020
Bicep explore 'Isles' on new album

Bicep have announced they will release the second album ‘Isles’ via Ninja Tune on January 22 next year.

It was made across a two year period, with tracks designed to evolve differently from record to live shows.

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On the title, the Belfast-born, London-based duo spoke about how it relates to their heritage, identities and communities they grew up in and have moved into, saying: “We have strong mixed emotions, connected to growing up on an island, wanting to leave, wanting to return”.

Matt McBriar said: “It’s always been an unquantifiable topic for us. We’re not religious, but we're both from different religious backgrounds. There was always a lot of interest in us talking about those issues, but we always felt that one of the things we loved about dance music was that freedom it gave you to be released from talking about those things.”

Andy Ferguson spoke about the connections dance music helped facilitate at the Belfast techno club Shine, saying: “You’d enter the club and it would be people from both sides of the tracks and they’d be hugging. And the following week, they’d be with their mates rioting. It felt like the safest place but, on paper, it should have been the most dangerous”.

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The new cultures and experiences they have had moving to London also impacted the album's sound.

Lead single ‘Apricots’ samples traditional Malawian singers released on the charitable label Beating Heart and The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir, both initially recorded in the 1950s.

Alongside the announcement, the duo have shared a video directed by BAFTA-winner Mark Jenkin for ‘Apricots’.

Speaking about the video, Mark Jenkin said: “From the very first listen of ‘Apricots’ the visuals were pretty clear to me. I was excited to be given the chance to work with a track where the emphasis was on rhythm and repetition rather than narrative. My intention was to create a building sense of elemental euphoria using rudimentary stop motion to animate inanimate objects. I did this using a clockwork 16mm camera out on location and also in my studio with simple sets. The resulting footage, some of which was processed by hand, was then layered with hand-painted and tinted 8mm film to create a new composite with greater depth and movement. It was also great to be reunited with Chloe Endeen, who I’d previously worked with on my film Bait to add the human spirit element.”

The album's artwork is designed by Studio Degrau.

Bicep are also starting a six-part radio residency on Apple Music which will air monthly starting 7pm BST on October 15. Find out more here.

“Across this six-part season we’re going to be looking back at our blogging roots and digging for tunes both old and new. Feel My Bicep blog was set up for sharing music between friends. Hopefully during this season you might hear some of the collections and discover some artists you’ve never heard of before. We spent years digging and collecting all kinds of music from the electronic world and beyond, each episode will hopefully give you a little insight into our collections," said Bicep.

Watch the 'Apricots' video below and pre-order 'Isles' here.

1. Atlas
2. Cazenove
3. Apricots
4. Saku (feat. Clara La San)
5. Lido
6. X (feat. Clara La San)
7. Rever (feat. Julia Kent)
8. Sundial
9. Fir
10. Hawk (feat. machìna)

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter

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