Pablo Nouvelle “All I need”

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Fabio Friedli, aka Pablo Nouvelle, is a young Swiss German soul-boy turned bedroom-rocker whose first album couldn’t get an official release because of all the Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson samples that needed clearing. The term “plunderphonics” seems to have been coined for this studio magician thanks to his particular talent for the art of sampling and restitching. Three years later, his new album, All I Need, is less of a post-modernist chop-up job and more of an organic studio project full of contemplative beats and atmospheric vocals, both skillfully employed to tease out a strong feeling of space and mood.

A surprisingly mature and emotionally delicate second album from a 29 year old who, when not winning awards for his work in film animation, finds time to record 4o tracks for his new album in London and Los Angeles. It has slick, catchy, pop/soul electronica stamped all over it, a feast for chill out lounges, downtempo playlists and elegant Manhattan shopping arcades. Though shamelessly commercial in its intention, the album is rich in feeling and texture thanks to a minimalist approach to the production that lets each track breathe in its landscape. Little wonder it struck me as the potential soundtrack to a film featuring hypersensitive characters figuring out their mercurial relationships on a snowy horizon.

Fabio explains that what starts off as a vague musical sketch at home on the keyboard and drum machine then gets elaborated in the studio with a singer who helps co-write and develop the piece turning it more into a song rather than just a sampling mosaic, a new situation for him formerly used to solitary confinement with his machinery. However sampling still features heavily as the vocals are often looped, chopped, slowed down and generally manipulated in some way to create the essential, raw direction of the track. Often compared to the likes of DJ Shadow and The Avalanches, the beats are tight, crisp, the uptempo numbers aching with dance floor potential.

Joined by a drummer and bassist on stage, Pablo Nouvelle will be on tour throughout Europe for most of spring 2016. Quoting Bonobo, the XX and Radiohead as his influences, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the work of Pablo Nouvelle alongside his heroes on heavy rotation on an intelligent radio station near you soon. With the one Marvin Gaye sample on the LP finally cleared, All I Need is out now on the award-winning Dutch label, Armada Music.

Pablo Nouvelle tour dates in March and April are on bandsintown

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