For quite some time only those who had the chance to witness his live act knew that Rey & Kjavik was not an Icelandic duo but a solo artist. During those years the Frankfurt producer and DJ became an indispensable part of the international house scene. On the one hand there is a neverending series of powerful hits such as ‘Hwmym’, ‘Face It’ or ‘Baba City’. With their gripping basslines, these tracks immerse themselves completely into the fervor of the night. His stirring melodies and his vocals for the most part sung by himself develop a wide-ranging emotionality, ensuring the tracks are not just DJ food, but break into the brain and the heart of the listeners. On the other hand there is the unique stage presence of the Frankfurt producer and DJ, who, with all his decisiveness, always conveys a sense of his crowd. Rey & Kjavik appeared in most of Europe’s leading clubs and festivals, playing in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Turkey, Russia and Singapore. As a preliminary highlight of his career, he appeared at the festival of festivals, at Burning Man, in 2015 and 2016. The next stage will be his debut album which is released on Berlin´s very special
label Katermukke this summer.
Rey & Kjavik was introduced to electronic music in Frankfurt´s seminal techno scene, contributing to the scene as a booker, organizing his own events as well. He chose the alias Rey & Kjavik because he wanted people to react to his music in an unbiased fashion. His first songs were released on Berlin’s Kindisch, followed by releases and remixes on Compost Black Label, Get Physical, King Street, Exploited and Katermukke. For his heavy basslines and the elaborate breaks of the past five years, Rey & Kjavik was cherished everywhere. For the right reasons: These numbers are direct and effective, yet sophisticated and credible.
With his debut album though, Rey & Kjavik begins the second chapter in his work. There was no external motivation for this break. So how did this new impulse come about? By traveling. Traveling to places like Istanbul, New York and San Francisco, as well as countries like Ukraine or Georgia changed his perspective on his own life and taught him a new modesty. By traveling he understood that he is able to reach his fans on another, rather profound level. The first, formative experience in this direction was his appearance at Burning Man in 2015 at ‘The Kazbah’. Traveling back to Germany he processed what happened to him in this incomparable place in the desert, composing a first piece of music, ‘Playa Sunset’, which is one of the highlight of the album.In Frankfurt, he hesitated for a while to pursue this new sound. It was just so different from what he had produced up to this point. The new tracks are slower and more emotional; at the same time they incorporate music from all over the world, from India for example and from different Arab countries. “A hardhitting bassline and strong breaks, that is a language that everybody is able to understand,” he says. “But taking off to an emotional journey with a style of music that most crowds are not really aware of is an entirely different ball game.” But he knew he was on the right track when he was playing the new tracks at the Robot Heart stage at Burning Man last summer at one of the most dramatic moments of the festival after the huge temple was burned down – and his sound hit a tremendous thrill. This was the emotional acknowledgment of Rey & Kjavik’s “new” sound and of the album ‘Rkadash’! In a Bavarian club he was spinning tracks with Arabic sounds. At a party in Singapore, he played mantras for an hour, some dancers had tears running down their cheeks.
The album opens with ‘Intro RK’, an alluring shaman chant, a fascinatingly beautiful voice rising above rushing, electronic sounds. We comprehend: Rey & Kjavik takes us on a profound, spiritual journey across geographical and cultural boundaries. With ‘Ulima’, he is relieving himself from the pressure of his former club tracks. Instead of the formerly employed white noise, he uses charming African sounds in the break. The vocal, sung in Arabic, is a beautiful love song. Saraswati is about the Indian goddess of wisdom, the song recalls a mantra, Rey & Kjavik blends it with a complex percussive groove. Baba City has already been released as a single. It is his first song with a hook line inspired from Turkish music. ‘Baba City’ means “big city”. The big city is his home town Frankfurt as well as Offenbach, his current residence. Offenbach has the highest percentage of foreigners in all of Germany: “And we live together nicely,” he explains. “No one cares about where the other person originally came from, if and when someone prays, or if he or she prays for any God at all. We make a multicultural society work. Within my circle of friends and beyond.” For the slower album version of Baba City, Rey & Kjavik replaces his own vocal from the single release with an Indian voice, the former house groove is replaced by Turkish drumming. ‘Vimalaa’ is a folk song from Rajasthan, which is the original home of the gypsies. From there they have carried their unique music into the world. In this wonderfully soothing piece of music, acoustic guitars almost work like house chords. Then the dreamy chapter of the album comes to an end, it is starting to takes on energy. ‘Rkadash’ is a beautiful, classical house track, an accordion sounds applies a slightly melancholic tone. This track will be the first single of the album, it is the touch point between Rey & Kjavik’s former sound and his future music. With its oriental hook line, ‘Escape’ reminisces Detroit techno. With the electrifying line “There is no escape” just repeated over and over again, Rey & Kjavik calls for a persistent discussion of the current, crushing political situation. Quite casually, he succeeds to do a club track with a political message, without employing on the stereotypical patterns of conscious house music. Exploding with life, ‘Playa Sunset’ is the climax of the album. All uncertainties, any hesitation is gone. Then it’s already time to say good-bye. With ‘Akya’, this serenity and joy is even deepened by a hypnotic, Indian song. Rey & Kjavik is wishing us farewell with the beautiful, clarifying mantra and the powerful house groove of ‘Sharanam’.
Release Date: July 7th, 2017
4. Baba City (Rkadash Version)
8. Playa Sunset
10. Hare Sharanam feat. Amu Ahava