“Crisp and minimal...a Carl Craig live vs electronics feeling” - DJ Mag
“There’s a lot to love on Emulsion - a strong debut from the young producer” - Electronic Sound
“Beautiful, widescreen electronics” - Clash
15 March 2019 (Toronto, ON) - Drawing inspiration from his jazz and classical background combined with electronic soul and dynamic beat-driven production, Anatole - 26-year-old Jonathan Baker - has released debut album Emulsion on Mercury KX/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. Listen to Emulsion HERE.
Raised amongst the dramatic natural surroundings of the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney, Anatole grew up engrossed in his natural environment, isolated from technological luxuries. Long days exploring the boundless bushland imbued him with a deep love for both the grand and cinematic scale of big ecosystems, and the fine beauty in the minutiae of the smallest organisms and patterns. It is this same balance between the giant and the infinitesimal that permeates his grand and finely detailed musical productions.
“I used to go bushwalking all the time as a child and is something I'm trying to get back into. That had a massive effect on me growing up and is something that I draw a lot of influence from for my music.”
Anatole studied trumpet at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and spent much of his youth performing in orchestras, spending the first part of his life convinced he was going to be a professional trumpet player.
“Coming from a classical background I have very strong musical mentors in the form of my childhood music teachers. I’m fascinated, now that I have switched roles and actively work as a music teacher myself, how much influence you can have on someone’s musical journey.”
It wasn’t until a friend lent him a Flying Lotus record that he began experimenting with electronic sounds; leading to an affinity with sounds being created by Bonobo, The Cinematic Orchestra and Nils Frahm. Discovering a natural flair for production, his music transformed and he took on the stage name Anatole – the ancient Greek word for sunrise.
The tracks on Emulsion grew naturally through opportunist moments, inspirational collaborations and impromptu recordings in friends’ houses alongside revisiting and renovating older pieces into something new. The 14-track album features guest appearances from label mate Ólafur Arnalds and fellow Australians Tom Iansek of Big Scary, IDA, Tracy Chen and Braille Face.
The title Emulsion suggests successfully combining things that normally wouldn’t work. An experiment in tone, colour and style; it brings textures of strings and piano into the realm of electronic music, coming from a place where these sound worlds coexist.
“I want this record to be something that reveals new things in every listen and requires attention in listening to reveal those details. There is something about hyper-casual listening that terrifies me as a musician, especially in this new age we are in where music is drifting towards an algorithmic emotional wallpaper."
The percussion for “Medlow Bath” was recorded in the space of about ten minutes with an old drum kit strewn across the floor of his mum's living room. “Like Deep Water” features Ólafur Arnalds' Stratus pianos with the main bass sound edited from an organ recording of his. “Outgrown” came out of a last-minute chance to work with the Big Scary singer, sparking a spontaneous 24-hour drive from Sydney to Melbourne and back to record.
“The whole thing felt like a blur but was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. I actually ended up transporting most of another track that I had been working on which happened to be in the same key and tempo. It helped change the mood of the song to something more exciting and unpredictable.”
It’s stories like this that reflect the album’s mission of “emulsion.” The title track itself contains some of his oldest recordings of strings and flute, eventually finding where they belong years later. The eerie saxophone part at the end of “No Ritual” came in three spontaneous takes during a recording session for a different track. Using the instruments on hand from a student’s cancelled lesson formed the foundation of “Step And Step”, with Tracy Chen’s initial voice memos being looped, along with background traffic, into the introduction.
“I run school band programs and many of the sounds come from recording after the rehearsals. Being around children definitely helps keep the wonder that made me interested in music in the first place. A lot of the sessions also happened in my friends’ houses. It’s awesome how much good music is made over a cup of tea. I see each sound as a musical postcard from a time and space that I once was in, and I find that really exciting to share.”
Championed by influential beatsmith Ta-ku and supported by Mary Anne Hobbs, Nemone and Tom Ravenscroft on BBC 6 Music, he has remixed tracks by Lucy Rose, Aquilo, and rising Australian artists Odette and Japanese Wallpaper. In his home country, Anatole has supported Majical Cloudz, Kllo, Gordi, No Mono, Vallis Alps and has been announced as the official support on label mate Ólafur Arnalds's Australian tour.
Emulsion is out now on LP, CD and digital.
Credit: Jeff Andersen Jnr