Photo: El Hardwick

On Deck: Fran Lobo

London-based artist Fran Lobo is a musical polyglot, working through the complicated threads of her creativity as a singer, songwriter, producer, DJ, choral composer, and sound artist. Taking inspiration from the history of orchestral music and the vivid movements of the London club scene, she sidesteps genre limitations and creates a sound as invigorating as it is unpredictable. She released her new EP, Brave, last week on Slow Dance Records, and it finds her touching on themes of personal identity, grief, and addiction as waves of clarinet, piano, drum machines, and synthesizers cascade in the background.

With such a wide range of influences, and with just as many different approaches in adapting these influences, we have invited her to discuss some of the records which have shaped her musical trajectory in our latest On Deck feature. Scroll down to read about the albums which so obviously mean a great deal to her. And check out the video for “Brave” below.

Tirzah – Devotion

[Domino; 2018]

My listens of this album must now have amassed thousands. Every little detail from Mica’s incredible production and Tirzah’s vocal delivery touches me really deeply. I adore how the songs often have soft starts or divert completely and there are so many subtle and intricate things in the production that are layered despite it seeming so simple. The message and mood of the tracks are heartfelt and direct and bring you into their world so fully. I love that most of the vocals are first or second takes and parts of it are chopped up and used in unusual ways. I love the sound and timbre choices from Mica that make you question where or what it is but never deter from the overall strength of the story. It’s got to be my favourite album from the last ten years- honestly obsessed with this record.

Aldous Harding – Designer

[4AD; 2019]

The uniqueness and story telling of this artist is unbelievable. The way she uses her voice to create characters is so mesmerising. I adore the way she plays with phrasing and enjoys the juiciness of words and language and it has been a real inspiration for me making my new record. Her lyrics are always incredibly cryptic yet easy to feel something from. Her videos for this record are also out of this world surreal, playful and beautiful. One of the best and adventurous artists at the moment for sure and this album is her best yet.

Little Dragon – Ritual Union

[Peacefrog; 2011]

I’ve always wished I could be in a band like Little Dragon! The sound design and use of weirdo synth and drum machine sounds is really refreshing-particularly on this record. It keeps you on your toes. The sounds are often a bit lo-fi or strange and Yukimi’s vocal is of course so soulful and totally immersing. The way she uses rhythm in her melodies is really fun to follow too. There are UK R&B and garage-esque sensibilities on this that I love too in the drum programming and production. The vocal production is also so detailed and captivating. This is a truly stand out record using a really unique mix of sounds/toys with special vocals from frontwoman Yukimi.

Bjork – Post

[Elektra; 1995]

What can I say about this record? I’ve been revisiting this a lot recently. It’s just a total knockout. Bjork’s bold and vibrant production and songs are so transporting. There is little concern for ‘genre’ or ‘norms’, instead each track is it’s own mini-universe. Going from the sci-fi trip hop/thrash out of “Army of Me” to something like “It’s Oh So Quiet” which could be from a 60’s musical to “I Miss You” which is one of my favourites: a techno inspired crazy track with drum machines, accordion sounds, weird whistle/crowd samples and live tabla playing??!! Then you’ve got the brass section that takes you all the way up to space. Bjork’s vocal is all the while so raw and strong- it almost sounds like she’s making it up as she goes along because it’s so immediate. It would be my dream to make a record with a fraction of the genius of this! Bjork I love you so much.

Fran Lobo’s latest EP, Brave, was released on June 19 via Slow Dance Records.

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