Robohands – Shapes
Motion design by iamnaomidesign.
Robohands on episode 2 of KUrated.
Andy Baxter, aka Robohands, follows up his debut LP ‘Green’ and sophomore release, ‘Dusk,’ with his KingUnderground debut, which comprehensively displays all of the composer’s instrumental and production skills.
“I wanted to do a more focused record after releasing Green and Dusk. I was inspired by a lot of library records with big arrangements and wanted to do something kind of reminiscent of those old recordings but with some modern drum parts. I also wanted to take some more time with this record as everything I’ve done up to this point has been quite time-constrained.”
Robohands – Leaves
is the first single.
‘Shapes’, the third album from the London-based instrumentalist-composer-producer, was initially planned to be recorded in full at Buffalo Studios with producer JP Pilon in Limehouse, London. While much of the record, including all of the drumming, was completed there, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Baxter to get creative and flex his talents as an engineer. Baxter, who has become obsessed with gear and the technical side of the creative process, just as much as with being a well-versed composer and musician, was able to finish the remainder of the record at his flat in London.
White or Black.
“Luckily I had been collecting some mics over the last few years and had a couple of old preamps lying around so when everything shut down I could still work on the tracks at home,” he says, speaking about the recording process.
“My favourite thing has always been to find really weird, inexpensive bits and pieces and figure out different ways to use them. But you can have too much stuff, and obsess over gear to the extent that you never actually make any music which is the whole point of playing.”
The artist’s first release as a part of the KingUnderground collective is inspired by 1970’s library music and its legendary composers, including Piero Umilani, David Axelrod, Brian Bennet and co.
“I like it because there are some genuinely brilliant albums out there that were put together really quickly just to be used commercially. A lot of the session players were jazz musicians with great feel so the end product was often this amazing music with added string and horn sections on top and big drum sounds,” Baxter says.
The fresh take on the genre mixes vintage and modern, both with instruments and production techniques and incorporates contemporary jazz and hip hop drumming styles. Ultimately, there is seamlessness captured throughout the record, which is a direct reflection of some of the albums that most influenced Andy.
Japan only CD.
Edition of 500.
“’Pieces of a Man’ (Gil Scott Heron) never gets old, just an incredible album. Arthur Verocai (Self-titled) gets played a lot too. ‘A Love Supreme’ (John Coltrane) also has that timeless sound. They all flow really well and that’s something I try to emulate, but from a place of humility as these artists are legendary and I’m just a guy from Basingstoke.”
The humble composer played a majority of the instruments on the record; drums, guitar, bass, keys/synths, and also some woodwind parts on the album. Including flute, which he recently just started playing, but you can hear his comprehensible knowledge of the instrument, as it can be heard on multiple tracks on the album. There is recognizable growth and forward movement between each of Robohands’ albums. The dynamic composer continues to push himself as a multi-instrumentalist while recognizing that simplicity when composing is equally important to the process.
With back print.
“Doing the multi instrument thing definitely allows for more options when composing, but keeping it simple when arranging seems always to sound better.”