London-based singer/songwriter, producer James Mathé has had a rather distinguished music career. Originally starting out as a folk-tinged balladeer, he was a member of the Fence Collective and was part of the original member of the critically acclaimed act Junip. And as he started to experiment with electronics, Mathé decided to go out on his own, releasing his debut effort, Bloodlines under the moniker of Barbarossa in 2013 to critical applause across the blogosphere.
Imager, Mathé’s forthcoming sophomore effort as Barbarossa is slated for a May 12 release through renowned indie label, Memphis Industries. Co-produced by Ash Workman, the material is reportedly informed by a phenomenon in London that’s extremely familiar to New Yorkers – the gradual disappearance of beloved creative and cultural hubs, which creates the sense that your city is changing in a way that no one really likes and that something vital and necessary is being erased before your eyes. Sonically, the material reportedly builds upon the sound that won Mathé attention across the blogosphere – while showing growth as an artist.
Imager’s first single, album title track, “Imager” pairs Mathé’s ethereal falsetto layers of cascading synths and skittering yet propulsive drum programming to create a sound that evokes a feverish dream, as well as the feelings of existential anxiousness and despair that come about when you see a familiar place quickly before your eyes, and remind you that time will inevitably phase you out. But as the narrator of the song sings with quiet yet forceful resolve that belies the sadness of the material “I will survive. . . "
If there’s one thing that can be said it’s this "Imager” will likely cement Mathé’s reputation for crating sincere, thoughtful and deeply arresting electronic pop music – the sort that will make you stop what you’re doing and pay attention.