Over the past two years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the the Budapest, Hungary-based electronic music production and artist duo Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — and as you may recall, with the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Hungarian duo quickly exploded into the national scene for a buoyant, summery and dance floor friendly sound meant to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony,” as the duo explain in press notes. “Island of Promise” eventually landed #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s biggest streaming services, and since its release, the track has amassed over 500,000 streams, and was featured in HBO Hungary series Aranyélet, as well as in an international Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.
The Budapest-based duo’s 2016 full-length debut The Odyssey won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album — and they supported the album with an intense period of touring that saw them playing 120 shows in 19 countries with stops across the international festival circuit. including Eurosonic, Sziget, Reeperbahn, Untold, and SXSW. Since the release of The Odyssey, the JOVM mainstays released a series of remixes of The Odyssey tracks, and a handful of singles that included “Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook and the Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool.”
The duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Colourwave was released late last month and the album finds the duo furthering and expanding upon the sound that has won them attention internationally: downtempo electronica with moody atmospheric, shimmering synths and thumping 808s. Last month, I wrote about “Rapture,” a collaboration with Blue Foundation‘s Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg centered around a trip hop-inspired production featuring shimming synth arpeggios, wobbling low end and Stubbe Teglbjærg’s sultry vocals. The album’s second single “Essence” continues the duo’s collaboration with female vocalists — this time, Sophie Barker. Much like its immediate predecessor, Barker’s sultry vocals glide over a shimmering production centered around a looped and reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook. Sonically, the song brings Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind –but a with a brooding and seductive air.