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Robohands – Violet

Cut to lacquer at 33 1/3 RPM
Gloss laminated sleeve
Chrome hype sticker

New Robohands LP showcases the brilliant producer and multi-instrumentalist through his most thought-out and compelling songwriting, yet. Andy Baxter AKA Robohands displays a new level of sureness with an album that makes you never want to leave its world. The collection of tunes touches on the full range of emotions, at times it’s bold and upbeat and other times it feels somber and heartbroken. It’s tied together with a throughline that keeps you wondering where the trip is heading next. 

It builds anticipation through patience and layers that show themselves over time, but its choices are direct and seem to know where they are going, while maintaining and presenting an adventurous spirit.

The multi-instrumentalist not only brought in new tones and textures for this record but there are also stand-out vocal performances on 2 of the tracks by singer, Aleh. Showing his ability to arrange with new elements at play.

“Wildflower” is a representation of the soul and the spirit that exist throughout the entire LP. The track is brought to life and finds its energy in the vocal feature by Aleh. The singing brings new voicing to the drum patterns and percussion arrangements that act as the song’s heartbeat. The entire track feels alive in every way and Robohands’s flute solo is an opportunity to witness his growth as a wind instrument player.

Along with taking the compositions to the next level, the record seems to achieve new heights sonically as well. Each part is clear and feels as if it is exactly where it needs to be, at times feeling like it gives the songwriting additional room to leave no desire to go higher.

Robohands hits a new ceiling for where his songwriting can be taken on “String Feelings”. The tune feels like it lives both in the nightclub and in outer space. Its groove has an attitude that is confident in its delivery. Accentuated by the mystique of the different string elements, upping the level of hip and elegance.

There is a beauty in much of the arranging, but what sets this record apart from previous Robohands albums are the drum patterns and the overall presence of the percussion explored through the album. Rhythmically it offers the familiar deep pockets, but they seem more curious at times, or as if they are running at a different pace, yet never feels like they are complex in a way that is distracting from its surrounding parts.

The entire ‘Violet’ LP is a balancing act of simplicity and subtle moments of adding character that gives each piece a new feel and voicing. It’s a representation of not only the growth of Baxter as a musician but as a songwriter and arranger. On “La Em Cima ” he lets featured vocalist Aleh’s voice do the song’s heavy lifting with the powerful nature of his voice. Never crowding the vocal with too much instrumentation, always allowing it the space it needs to carry the emotion of the song. The simple yet beautifully played guitar line gives the vocal something to hold on to, almost acting as the singer’s guide.

Every moment is a display of the instruments existing and playing together. They all put in work, but it never feels like they are working against each other.

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