New artists of the week: Paul Institute
Plus songs you have to hear from Anna Calvi and Robyn
Reinen. Photograph: Luke Archer
What: Jai and AK Paul’s pop factory
Where: Somewhere in London
Why: The story of Jai Paul and AK Paul – two brothers from London and two of the most promising artists of the early 2010s – is an enigmatic tale, featuring interesting early singles, unauthorised album demos sold to the public, long periods of silence, cameos on Big Boi and Miguel records, surprise productions and sudden appearances.
Fans of the pair had long since given up expecting any solo material. The odd single appeared that ignited hope. AK Paul’s Landcruisin’ in 2016 was indicative of their Prince-indebted Linndrum funk sound. They made pop music from another era which operated in a discombobulated fashion, as if was rupturing under the weight of being made in the modern world.
Then last year, news came via an unlikely source – Property Weekly. It seemed the Paul brothers had acquired a real-life building to house their label and art collective the Paul Institute.
What followed was true to the brothers’ idiosyncratic way. They debuted music that they had produced from a Lewisham firefighter called Ruthven and a session musician called Fabiana Palladino. Then in July, they released more music with their protegees on a website that harks back to Internet 1.0. Last week, two more artists, Hira and Reinen, released records. That’s practically prolific.
Of course, no one would care if the music wasn’t any good. There are strains of the best of the 1980s: Kate Bush, Eurythmics, Prince and one song that sounds like New Kids On The Block. Their releases, while available on Spotify, are primarily released on the format of the era – the seven-inch vinyl. All this could be pure old-fashioned retromania but their synthesiser-electronic pop uses vintage gear and references for a reimagining as opposed to a retread.
Hear all the music at paul.institute.
You have to hear this:
Anna Calvi – Hunter
With her forthcoming third record Hunter, Anna Calvi is the latest artist to explore the space between male and female sexuality. Self-described as a “queer and a feminist record” the title track suggests that she’s been inspired by another performer who challenged gender. Hunter is the soundtrack to sexual freedom in slow motion and has the feel of late-era Bowie crossed with the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Calvi plays Dublin on September 28th.
Robyn – Missing U
The queen of melancholic dance music is back. The Swedish artist hasn’t released a solo track in eight years so the appearance of Missing U was hotly anticipated by many who have known or got to know her charms. Robyn plays to her strengths – making uplifting, cascading pop music for the club that aches with loss and pain. For Robyn, the way to get over something is always to work it out on the dancefloor in a sweet release.