Three albums in less than four years: Med School’s Keeno is on a roll.
Last week he teased us with details on All The Shimmering Things and an album minimix at the end of his most recent Bristol Mix Sessions episode. You can soak up a sharp 30 second blast of it right here…
On November 3 you’ll be able to soak up the whole 12 track package. Deeper, more direct and dancefloor-driven than his previous albums Futurist and Life Cycle, it ranges from touching delicate moments such as Light Cascading, raw soul such as Is This The Way and powerful cinematic dramatics like Nightingale Valley. It also comprises some of the most theatrical and authentic skankers he’s made to date such as Jungle Ballet and the turbo-goosebumping finale track Cosmic Creeper.
In keeping with his classical schooling, it’s also powered by impressive musical expression and dynamics. He reveals that most of the instruments you’ll hear on All The Shimmering Things he personally recorded live by real players. And that he’s also tried to avoid as much as sound design as possible, creating a pure, clean sound that he’s galvanised as his signature since emerging five years ago.
All The Shimmering Things is released November 3 on Med School and rounds off another remarkable year for the young musician. Up there with Danny Byrd and Krakota as one of the Hospital family’s most respected, technically sharp and powerful DJs, his DJ sets have been consistently on point (and continue to trigger the crowd’s ‘Keeeeeeno’ football chant style chorus), his Bristol Mix Sessions podcasts are always an hour well invested and his Music For Orchestra EP is one of his most extraordinary releases to date. It featured beautiful gulliness like this…
Here’s what we’ve found out about All The Shimmer Things so far…
Album number 3! How quickly has all this come together?
Yes, it’s definitely been a productive 18 months. Really, I’ve been working on this third album ever since Futurist was finished. Since moving to Bristol and having my own dedicated space at home to work on music, the creativity has been flowing freely. I feel incredibly lucky to have so much time to write these days so I am making the most of it.
Last time we spoke you had gone through some pretty big life changes between Life Cycle and Futurist – was the trip between Futurist and All The Shimmering Things less turbulent?
I’d say so. Since Futurist, I moved out from home and into a flat in lovely Bristol. We are incredibly lucky with the D&B scene here with top nights on every week. I have been busier than ever before but also feel more capable and confident. I think it’s had an impact on my music, too. I find myself focussing on writing what I want, rather than what I feel I should.
What’s the title all about?
Near my new place there’s a park called Nightingale Valley (after which one of the album tunes is named). I often take my bike down there for lunch and listen to my tunes away from the studio (an essential practice) There’s a little stream running through the middle of this valley and the sun was shimmering just like the strobes in the club Dachstock I had played at not long before. The title stuck with me and the Hospital team straight away.
We’ve spoken about your classical background in the past and it seems to be playing more and more of a role in your drum & bass. Notably with the last EP and now on album tracks like Jungle Ballet, Piano Only and Cosmic Creeper. Tell us how you continue to work new ways of merging your two musical worlds…
I have consciously tried to find a different balance between the music and the beats in this album compared to the previous two. I wanted these tunes to be aimed more towards the dancefloor with deeper basslines and more rolling beats throughout whilst still retaining their musical edge. I found the best way to do this was to rely very little on synthesis, or at least use simple sound design techniques that don’t distract the listeners attention for too long. Most of the sounds you hear in the album are acoustic recordings of real instruments. There’s still a lot more to be learned about exactly how these two worlds collide but I’m making interesting progress. This is definitely a big step forward for me in many ways.
What have been the most important things you’ve learnt during the last 18 months?
In no particular order:
1) Live streaming on Facebook is great for promo
2) To regularly check the dB level of my studio
3) To eat lunch more often (I always forget)
4) The Hospital Records wash bag makes a great DJ bag
5) Always carry a spare USB with your music on it, you never know who you might bump into.