A record of exceptional raw affinity from cktrl
cktrl has composed and created an exceptional raw affinity that knows no bounds. Robyn is a beautifully crafted album, an honest and deeply conscious reflection of heartbreak and belonging.
This brave record strips back to the very core of emotion, mirroring incomprehensible heartache. Talking with Aly Gillani on Bandcamp Weekly, cktrl describes feeling powerless and helpless, “you don’t know how to help yourself more than anything else”. Naturally, he looks inward for his creativity and makes music from his moods, on how he is feeling, how he is thinking.
cktrl’s gift as a multi-instrumentalist seeps through this EP. He grew up in Lewisham and says he was lucky to have music lessons funded by the borough. His talent was nurtured and developed in Saturday music school, no wonder cktrl comes into being through the saxophone and the clarinet, these classical instruments are his roots to community. “Things fit into your lifestyle according to what you need them for”, for cktrl, the instruments are his catharsis. His storytelling through the sax on pre-released ‘Robyn’ is charming and thoughtful. We are transported through waves of varying tempos which pervade far beyond the track and vibrate straight through the soul. He breathes a tone with a capacity to penetrate, activate and hold an atmosphere of profound awareness and sympathy.
In putting out this record he feels he has met his purpose, which is most certainly true. Last year brought us Colour, an experimental profusion of multiple genres and sounds which aired his talent as a producer, a polar direction from his heavy electronic first release Misc / Azula back in 2015. Collaborating with Touching Bass (South London musical movement and fellow NTS old-timers) has been instrumental to the evolution of his music. cktl admits that in his journey as an artist his vision of what he wanted to say and how to say it was clouded and obscure, but through the process of Robyn he has truly found his sound.
He’s back from a month in Jamaica, his “home away from home” where he can soak in the days and “just be”. He suggested to Gilani that London has been somewhat negative for his music career, constantly questioning his angle and story. Spending time in Jamaica has reinstated his place in London, not only in understanding his purpose in music but his inward identity.
“This EP as a whole is the journey of self, how I moved through the feeling and the self-help through the music. That person is still beautiful to me but not for me. I can love again and give someone all of me again. A lot of times as humans trauma stops you from going again, it puts your guard up. I know I can give it a go fresh again, I can love again and I can be happy. Happiness is a thing we all deserve.” - in conversation with Aly Gillani on Bandcamp Weekly
These beautiful words from cktrl are an expression of his inward journey through the album. The last track, ‘As You Are’ is a celebration of growth in riding the storm of his emotion. ‘You are still so real to me but not nearly as close’: in the powerful poetry of Yrsa Daly Ward cktrl finds his feelings which resonate through the reedy luminous melody and warm strings. This active and full-bodied track oozes positivity, cktrl is back on an energy to release this dazzling EP in a full-circle odyssey.
Listen to the full EP here.