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Ross From Friends Family Portrait Brainfeeder

Ross From Friends – Felix Weatherall’s alias – has amassed a head-spinning list of cultural touchpoints in a short space of time. With early releases on the influential Lobster Theremin label and gigs at Panorama Bar, this is an artist – ironic pop culture moniker included – with no problem finding the zeitgeist. But Weatherall’s material, far from being achingly ‘now’, is, in fact, a timeless and otherworldly proposition, and his debut album feels poignant.

Weatherall cites the influence of his dad’s hi-NRG, Italo records growing up, but for the most part, Family Portrait is deft and hypnotic house music. The soft pads and hazy, bucolic samples explain why his work has been tagged as part of the lo-fi scene, but there’s a lineage here that reflects more of house and electronic music’s recent history. Pale Blue Dot draws on the meticulous and melancholic work of Gold Panda, the shuffling soft-shine melody of Thank God I’m a Lizard recalls leftfield disco like Maurice Fulton, and on Don’t Wake Dad, the more club-oriented side of Mount Kimbie.

Project Cybersen is one of the strongest tracks, as it evolves into a bleeping, saxophone-led rumbler. In a good way, this has got the gentle John Talabot touch – The Knife, in particular, captures the delicately anthemic style of Talabot’s work. ‘Emotive’ is a word that’s used a lot about Weatherall’s work, but the gently polished alchemy on Family Portrait is about much more than pushing emotional buttons. Filled with shimmering, dusky melodies that are only ever half in view, this is a powerful debut.