Tomas Barfod released his debut solo album back in 2012, a sophisticated mesh of electronics called Salton Sea. Lauded by the likes of Pitchfork, Dazed & Confused and Gorilla vs Bear, the acclaim took Barfod slightly by surprise but its success has paved the way for the follow-up, Love Me, an album that takes Barfod’s spirit of adventurousness and raises the stakes. Utilising a supporting cast that includes a string and brass section, and musicians like Here We Go Magic’s Luke Temple and long-term collaborator Nina K. on vocal duties, it’s a multi-layered album that effortlessly pushes and pulls dance and electronic music into a myriad different shapes.
Barfod was first exposed to the indefinable lure of the electronic music scene not by clubbing (that came later), or by specific acts, but by a long-forgotten film featuring a section set in a club. “I think it was after I watched a bad movie about raves in the 1980s” he laughs. Early musical influences ranged from the likes of Goldie, Massive Attack and Portishead, to Goa trance and techno, before drifting into house and disco. These influences subsequently manifested themselves in the acid disco-inspired club-bangers Tomas released as Tomboy via Gomma records and the ambient techno he unleashed on Kompakt.
He had about ten years of musical experience before he started making his own music, part of which came in the shape of his band, WhoMadeWho, who he formed in 2004 alongside two fellow Danes, guitarist Jeppe Kjellberg and singer and bassist Tomas Høffding (Barfod plays drums and produces).
These new songs are precise, more defined and ultimately crafted into more fully-formed songs. While still keeping his debut’s intimate delicacy and beautiful sense of fragility, this follow-up is also more audacious, as showcased on the sweeping strings of the lovely “Aftermath”. This coalescing of the real and the analog is also highlighted by the guest vocalists, who range from long-term collaborator Nina Kinert on the lovely electro-squelch of “Pulsing” and the bouncing electro-pop of “Busy Baby,” Winston Yellen on the luscious “Sell You” and American singer-songwriter Luke Temple on the poignant “Bell House”. From the start Barfod was acutely aware that in order for these songs to come to life they needed to have vocals, even if piecing it all together was like finishing a puzzle. Love Me is many-textured, endlessly rewarding, an organic-sounding electronic album utilising real heart and soul.