From Gothenburg, Sweden comes the colourful sounds of Shakarchi & Stranéus, comprising Faik Shakarchi and Daniel Stranéus, a pairing forged in friendship and artistic partnership a decade ago while they worked at a tapas restaurant.
Since then, the electronic duo have been contributing to the work of label Studio Barnhus, and have now finally gotten round to releasing their own album, Steal Chickens From Men And The Future From God. The long wait seems to have been worth it – this is an eclectically energetic record which shows remarkable vision.
It is the capacity for cross-genre exploration which gives Shakarchi & Stranéus and their new record a unique place on the electronic music scene. A real mix of influences can be heard throughout the record, from retro beats reminiscent of the disco era to vocal loops which draw on everything from tribal chants to rap.
Hessingen is testament to this variety, with its warm tone and vaguely Caribbean rhythm. These moments of interest on the record are underpinned by heady melodic patterns and spacious beats – a reminder of the minimalistic tendencies of the duo’s Swedish roots. The third track, Marcy Son What, is a highlight, with gentle harp samples layered on top of distorted vocals.
The record’s overarching mood is celebratory and youthful. Simple progressions and driving beats build to a clear climax in each track, suggesting a ready audience amongst Europe’s club goers. The vibrations are almost physically tangible in many of these tracks, and one can easily imagine their effects on the dance floor. This is particularly true of Path Mountain Square, full of sharp synth stabs and a muted rap loop.
Yet this album is not just for the club – the vibrancy of Shakarchi & Stranéus makes the perfect Monday morning wakeup call or gym playlist, too. The aesthetic of Steal Chickens From Men And The Future From God is familiar and yet also offers something slightly different to hold the interest. The duo are less lyrically based than Childish Gambino, but achieve similar energy and listenability. New York based musician Emma Olson’s creative endeavour Umfang is more sombre in tone, but also bears comparison here.
Steal Chickens From Men And The Future From God is surely a sign of good things to come for Shakarchi & Stranéus, who have created a nuanced album which is easy to listen to and yet unexpected in all the right ways. If this duo is somewhat unknown in the mainstream scene just now, they don’t deserve so to be for long.