With the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Budapest-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — quickly exploded into their homeland’s scenes while establishing bouyant, summery, dance floor friendly sound designed to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony,” the duo explain.
“Island of Promise” landed at #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s largest string services and reventually amassed over 500,000 streams. The song was featured in the HBO Hungary series Aranyélet. And adding to a growing profile, “Island of Promise” was part of an international Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.
The Budapest-based duo’s full-length debut, 2016’s The Odyssey was nominated for and won a a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album. They supported the album with an intense, international touring schedule: 120 shows in 19 countries with a run across global festival circuit, which included stops at Eurosonic, Sziget, Reeperbahn, Untold, and SXSW.
After the release of The Odyssey, Belau released a series of remixes of tracks off their debut. Their sophomore album, 2019’s Colourwave featured:
- “Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook
- The Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool“
- “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
- “Essence,” a collaboration with Sophie Barker that features Barker’s sultry vocals gliding over a shimmering production centered around looping, reverb-drenched guitar shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook that brought Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind – but a with a brooding air.
During the height of the pandemic, the duo teamed up with Sexto Sentido for “Luz,” a decided change in sonic direction that was a blend of traditional Afro-Cuban folk music and modern electronica paired with lyrics sung in Yoruba and Spanish. To my ears, “Luz” reminded me of JOVM mainstays Ibeyi. And according to the band, the song, which was included as part of Colourwave DLX album was a spiritual journey for the duo.
The Colourwave DLX album also featured an Ohxalá remix of “Breath” feat. Sophie Lindinger that retained Lindinger’s sultry vocal and paired with a dub-leaning house production that gave the song a completely different feel: a bracing chilliness that brought Octo Octa’s Between Both Selves to mind.
Belau’s first single of the year, “Dreamstate” features Aussie pop vocalist Akacia, who has amassed over 50 million streams across the different streaming platforms. “Dreamstate” pairs the Aussie vocalist’s sultry and expressive vocals with an atmospheric R&B production featuring skittering reverb-drenched beats, a reverb-drenched guitar solo, glistening synth arpeggios to a create a song that evokes a half-remembered and feverish dream.
“The history of transfiguration is deeply rooted in our culture, but for most of us, the grace we are possibly able to live towards ourselves is distant, mystical and looks impossible to have access to in this profane world,” the Hungarian JOVM mainstays say in press notes. “Although this road, on the other hand, is available for everyone, if you walk through it, it feels like an actual ‘dreamstate.’ The song tells the story of a life beyond our own limits, a shift from stagnation to progress, a way out of our own dread. A man who is much wiser than us once claimed that only if such an internal process takes place in the individual hearts – and then, of course, outwards – is the way to bring eternal peace to the societies of the world. And there is certainly nothing else that Belau could support even more in these increasing dynamics of the world. We are all made out of gold.”
The accompanying video was filmed in Malta and follows a woman as she explores and wanders around the Mediterranean island nation. Through the use of prism and kaleidoscopic filters, the gorgeous surroundings are given a dream-like quality.
“We made a video for ‘Dreamstate’ in Malta with our good friend. Spent four days on these beautiful islands, at daytime we discovered the breathtaking landscapes at the evening we played some live shows, such good memories” the members of Belau recall.
The duo are currently working on their third album — and are touring across Europe, including some festival dates.