Following the release of EP’s by Withered Hand and Delifinger, Fife’s Fence Records are chuffed to announce that the third title in the Chart Ruse series is by London-based singer-songwriter James Mathé, aka Barbarossa. James has been a member of the Fence Collective for awhile now – he has played countless Fence shows (Home Game, Away Game, Eye O’ the Dug amongst others), and his debut album Chemical Campfires was released on the label, preceded by the mini-album Sea Like Blood. Having toured around the globe as a member of Black Ghosts, and as part of Johnny Flynn’s band, Barbarossa has returned to writing and performing his own material.
Barbarossa’s output was previously quite folky, centred around an acoustic guitar – but the sound is now shaped by Casio keyboards, vintage synths and old drum machines. Accompanied by Ben Brown on drums and Adam Beach on bass, Barbarossa is now an immaculately sleek, soul pop machine!
The A-side of the new E.P. was recorded to tape at Analogue Catalogue – an all analogue studio, located just outside Manchester – as part of a full album session. Fellow singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Adem Ilhan (Fridge, Silver Columns, Adem) produced and mixed the tracks.
Opening number, ‘Butterfly Plague’, is as catchy as it is atmospheric – where fluttering synths escape, and dance around a mesmeric chorus. The accompanying video is equally hypnotic. Starring Zawe Ashton (Vod from Channel 4’s Fresh Meat), it captures the song’s haunting psychedelic feel, and marks the stunning directorial debut of James’ partner, actress and film-maker Montserrat Lombard.
On the B-side, James has home-recorded a new version of ‘Stones’. This incredible song featured on the hit US sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and has subsequently accrued hundreds of thousands of views across various YouTube clips.
The E.P. is completed with a remix by The Atlas Mountains of the title track. The Atlas Mountains are band members of François Marry, the most recent signing to Domino Records, and a fellow Fence Records affiliate. The remix revolves around James’ vocal, and gives the whole song a more gritty R’n’B touch. As with our previous releases in the Chart Ruse series, the remix is available EXCLUSIVELY on the vinyl – there is no download for the remix.