Developed from a background in jazz and classical music, Swedish-born, Berlin-based artist Carl Robin Kirchmann (AKA SQRD) has soaked up the soul of these two cultural Meccas to develop his unique blend of low key, dreamy electronica. With a master’s degree in mathematical engineering under his belt, Kirchmann’s process for creating music is seemingly drawn from his ability to solve equations, experimenting not only with developing his personal tastes and musical disciplines, but also with various vocal and instrumental textures, effects and rhythms; the result of which is his new EP ‘Gold’.
‘Gold’ sits somewhere between the engulfing and benign sounds of The xx and Four Tet, whilst vocally Kirchmann calls to mind the opaque melodies of James Blake and Active Child. It’s a captivating blend of sonic components, which is more supportive and protective than it is forlorn, however there are still wistful and reminiscent undertones throughout. It is the influence of this beguiling honesty and courage that can be heard across tracks such as title-track ‘Gold’ and ‘Would Run Wild’ where soft and sombre electronics meet melancholic yet resolute vocals, which are accompanied by hypnotic oscillating rhythms.
Elsewhere on the EP, tracks such as ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ shows clear yet befitting influence from the likes of Caribou and Moderat, with a higher tempo and timbre than that of the rest of the EP, alongside more complex and densely structured samples and percussion. This contrast across the first and last two tracks of the EP perfectly exemplify the themes running throughout the EP and show a clear journey across not only SQRD’s musical journey but also his personal one.
Listen to “Gold” below.
Thematically, the EP is about the end of Kirchmann’s seven year relationship and the process of finding your own path. Speaking about the ‘Gold’ EP SQRD said, “Writing music was an attempt to handle and process what happened and in the same way to find my own path. I sit for hours and hours, I forget about everything else, and just focus all of my energy on the music. Now when I think about it, this might also explain why I want to do everything on my own – the writing, singing and producing – it makes me feel independent and I can do whatever I want from the initial idea to finished track.
SQRD is constantly exploring how he can push the boundaries of writing electronic music, and his experimentation with different tones and moods both sonically and subjectively is what sets him apart from the rest. It’s rare that an artist is able to define their sound so equivocally yet so proficiently, and this short yet consummated EP is just an introduction of what he is capable of.