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FKL - On the Water


On the Water


Released: 20th May 2016 | 2 track electropop single

Formerly playing under the moniker of Funktionslust, the artists now known as FKL formed in London when Sage Redman and Joe Gillick met in their first year of university. Originally, Sage grew up in Seattle - her parents were super unmusical, but her uncle had connections to the grunge scene. For her 13th birthday he burnt her a set of CDs titled 'Sage's Songwriting Series', featuring classic rock songs like 'Life on Mars'. Joe, on the other hand, grew up in London, where he was exposed to the music of grime crews like Ruff Sqwad and Roll Deep early on; he didn't really appreciate its importance at the time though. At that age, you just follow the crowd, he says, I was quite impressionable.

Still, grime's futuristic impulses - and its continued relevance in 2016 - remain an important touchstone for the band. You can pick up hints of numerous diverse sounds in FKL's music, from technoid rhythms to glacial coldwave atmospheres, but they bring these styles into a hyper-modern sound world that is distinctly their own. At heart, Sage and Joe are classicists, writing traditional melodic pop songs, but there's an experimental bent to their production informed by artists like Four Tet, Mumdance, and Oneohtrix Point Never. All the stuff I grew up listening to has been really melody-driven, says Sage, But all of a sudden, you acquire this experimental side...;

At university, Sage dedicated a chunk of her research to musicians who push solo instruments into new, experimental directions - artists like Colin Stetson with the saxophone, Squarepusher with the bass guitar, and Elizabeth Fraser with her voice. People who really focus on one side of their practise, Sage says, Out of that focus, you get different perspectives. It's an approach that translates into the band's own practise, albeit in a way that's perhaps less obvious. At one point, Joe plays a new song from a huge pool of demos, an instrumental built around a simple repeated bass tone. It's about exploiting one sound and working around that sound, he says. How far can you take this bass sound and build a pop song out of it?

" sounds all icy and minimal and austere at the beginning, but then by the final act it’s blown up, with this bridge which sounds like Fatima Al Qadiri covering Moments In Love."
Dummy, review
"… its the sound of what Radio 1 is meant to sound like at night time, its anti-glistening pop music, its meant to be a little bit dirty, a little bit challenging..."
BBC Radio 1, review
"There’s a disjointed embrace to the way London duo FKL go about things. Synth notes are stretched, tested beyond their means. Click-clack drum patterns pierce the surface before buggering off again. Vocals sneak into the spotlight, talk typical things like going to the movies, in a setting that’s anything but everyday. It’s curious, intentionally creepy synth pop that hits the spot despite all its oddities."
DIY Magazine, review
"Sage’s breathy starts call to mind Romy of The xx at her most focused, before escalating into an arresting and powerful crescendo of emotion."
Complex Magazine, review
"… they seem to have nailed that stern-eyed yet seductive thing from the off. It's a little bit cold wave, quite a bit synth-pop, and a lot intriguing."
The Fader, review
"We're pretty much obsessed with the skewed pop perfection of FKL"
Noisey, review