Listen To Estate, The Perfect Album For Those Late Summer Blues
Murky London hip hop to get you through the mundanity of city life.
- By Amara Thomas
Recently with artists like King Krule and Jesse James Solomon leading the way, UK hip hop has taken a dark, fragile and introspective turn, which we’re all about. Part of this movement, is London-based vocalist and producer Gregor The Blue who makes angst-filled music to soundtrack city experiences. We’re very happy to premiere Gregor The Blue’s first length album, Estate. The LP is murky, moody, and perfect for those late summer blues.
Teaming up with MC’s KODO, Isaac Samuel, Tony EQ, and Xativa, as well as lending his own vocals to the mix, Estate layers meditative vocals “concerning love and loss in the city, mundanity and getting by” over airy, sampled melodies and deep atmospheres.
Listen to the album below, let it wash over you, and then scroll down to read Gregor The Blue’s thoughts on making beats in your bedroom, night bus music, and how the city is suffocating us all.
How does this album differ from your EP Space?
At its heart, The EP was a collaboration between me and Kodo, but here I’m giving an individual perspective.
The tones and nuances of the tracks reflect how I personally feel about the alienation that goes hand in hand with city life. But then, these melancholic moments afflict everyone living at high population densities from time to time, so in that sense I’m also expressing a universal condition.
I feel I’ve really pinned down that sensation and caged it. For instance there are points in the tape of purposeful discomfort, like sitting opposite a stranger on the underground, alongside moments of pure reverie in which you lose sight of yourself and sink into the collective mass. That’s the really affecting part of the city by the way—facing your own insignificance.
This album appears to put a lot of emphasis on movement and being in transit, but not really ever establishing a destination—just kind of floating. Why so much emphasis on this, and how has being based in a city like London influenced this idea?
I’m glad you picked up on that. I think It’s how a lot of people, especially young people, are feeling in London at the moment. With the rent crisis and general privatisation of the city-scape we feel like we don’t have a place anymore. Migratory herds of young heads drift from house to house but we’re never truly given a place to settle.
Also, London especially is a city entirely built around its public transport. I see it like veins or capillaries, an internal system that pumps people around the topographical space. And this obviously allows for a complete mix of different people in any one site; but social mixing doesn’t really occur in these places—you only get chatted to if the guy in question is wasted. So then everyone is together, they journey through the same systems, but everyone is alone and isolated from each other, they’re all floating.
I’ve read before that you record everything in your bedroom, do you still work that way?
Oh yeah of course, that’s a really important aspect of what I’m doing. This is like a creative expulsion, a release of sorts, and because it’s such a personal thing I want to be in control of every aspect. So I record, produce, master everything alone, design the covers, make videos, manufacture cassettes—it really helps you connect with your tape when you’re involved at every level. This means when you bring people in to record or whatever, it’s like, you’re welcoming them into your personal vibration and maybe that has some effect on how homogenous the guest vocals feel as well.
It definitely adds volumes to the sound, I hope you can tell that it’s bedroom music. Like when you listen to Original Pirate Material and get taken to new worlds while at the same time knowing it’s just Mike Skinner with an SM58 and his laptop.
You describe your music as night bus, tell me about that?
When you get on a bus at 3am you see what the city really is. So I guess it acts as a cue, the music should be experienced in that mind-set. I’m also into the idea of the journey, especially with this tape, purely because I’ve never put something so long together before using only original material. Certain tracks blend into each other and you’re kind of guided through, similar to the lack of control you have when you’re being driven through the night. I found myself being really conscious of that fact, that I was charting a consistent path through individual tracks.
Seeing that this album is your first full length LP, it works kind of like an introduction. What can a listener expect to feel and understand about your work after experiencing Estate?
I guess it does act as somewhat of an introduction, but personally I view it as a mission statement in soundscape form. This is a tape of specific textures concerning love and loss in the city, mundanity and getting by. What I’m interested in the most is how people will react to that, will they relate to it on some level, or just think I’m a downer? I don’t know which I would prefer.
Estate is available to preorder on "hi quality home recorded cassette tapes" now.