Song of the Day: Belleruche - Afan

photo by Dave Lichterman

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Afan” by Belleruche from the 2012 album Rollerchain on Tru Thoughts.

Belleruche - Afan (MP3)

Belleruche isn’t a real French word, but when roughly translated into English, it means “fine hive.” That may seem odd on first glance, but it aptly describes the English electronic soul trio. Kathrin deBoer’s smooth, velvety vocals are as refined and clear, and the interlocking grooves of Ricky Fabulous and DJ Modest are often composed of multiple staccato parts going at once, not unlike busy bees.

Weak attempts at analogies aside, Belleruche’s music is a glitchy and rich blend best described as “turntable soul music” (also the title of their debut album). A highlight from their most recent release, Rollerchain, “Afan” is an opportunity for all three members to flex their musical muscles. DJ Modest’s beats are relentless and precise as they build a rhythm around the sometimes sparse but always efficient bass of Ricky Fabulous, but the real star here is Kathrin deBoer. Her insistent vocals are what push the track forward, as she alternates between pining moans and commanding trills. It’s a stirring combination that cuts off as soon as it reaches its sudden peak in just under two-and-a-half minutes.

The band don’t have any Stateside dates currently booked, but you can monitor their whereabouts on their official website. In the meantime, watch video of the band playing “Clockwatching” live in the KEXP studios in 2010:

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