I’m going to risk the wrath of the anti-everything blogosphere, and make that most dangerous of things, a prediction. And that prediction is that Lo Fang’s album Blue Film will be on all of the Best Of lists next December. My reasoning for such a bold (?) statement is simple: although it’s coming out in 2014, I’m listening to it at the end of 2013 and it’s one of the best I’ve heard this year. Solid rationale.
Double single ‘#88’/’Boris’ was dropped by Lo Fang’s label 4ad back in September to little fanfare, with a video for the glorious ‘Look Away’ following last month. Blue Film will be released in February, and it has done the ever-so-neat trick of combing pretty much every popular genre in music today. Hemerlein is classically trained in violin, cello, bass, guitar and piano and makes liberal use of them all. He fuses this with a patient kind of electro R n’ B. that's distant and cold, yet listen to it on earphones and you'll feel like you're watching it in his living room. It's R n’ B, just R n’ B which at times sounds like its sung by Anthony Hegarty, with James Blake producing instead of R Kelly.
Some of it really is next level in terms of shoulder-blade-tingles-shit. Take ‘Boris’: helicopter bass mired with strings, keys and the vaguest of handclaps as Hermerlein quietly croons threats of infidelity to a girl whose boyfriend is not around. “Baby, aren’t you hungry/I could give you codeine/I could get my car keys/ Oh, what a cute dress/I heard your boyfriend’s out of town.” It certainly makes you think twice about letting Mr Fang take you out for ribs.
The air of growly melancholy continues throughout ‘#88’, with cello interludes that’ll ensure it’s used on episodes of One Born Every Minute, before a bass-line slices through the tension he’s so carefully constructed. It’s fair to say that if you are someone with any lingering ticker-issues you would do well to cover your ears should Blue Film ever be played in your vicinity, as the whole album feels like it's permanently about to snap.
The other huge thing in Lo Fang’s locker is the cover of ‘You’re The One That I Want’. Yes, that ‘You’re The One That I Want.’ It’s a song destined for ‘love this, so random!’ Facebook shares and other episodes of One Born Every Minute. It’s also gorgeous, (string-laden, obvs), so gorgeous in fact that it might (might) make you forget it originated from that awful film full of 30 year olds horrors, and you might (might) just believe it was 2014’s most darkly touching ode to soon-to-be-requited love.