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In an age of regressive politics and inward-looking neo-nationalism, there’s something gloriously open and outward-looking about the musical worldview of Rose Robinson. A keen traveller whose mindset and musical vision has been shaped by her experiences visiting different destinations around the globe, Robinson’s releases as Tigerbalm thrillingly combine her roots in dance music – Robinson has been DJing around her home city of London and much further afield for well over a decade – with rhythms, sounds and instrumentation inspired by all manner of indigenous musical cultures from around the world.
This trademark sound is sonically kaleidoscopic, unflinchingly percussive and undeniably infectious, though attempts to accurately describe it are likely doomed to failure. While confounding those employed to review music not Robinson’s aim – she was much more interested in fusing her eclectic global musical influences and showcasing great female vocalists – her brilliant debut album, International Love Affair, will surprise as much as it delights – and all for the right reasons.
It arrives on the back of a string of celebrated singles and was created with the help of a large archive of recordings of jam sessions with musician friends, and contributions from a talented pool of female singers Robinson has met on her travels around the world. It’s those travels that shaped the sound of International Love Affair, with every track being a personal response to the musical cultures of places she’s visited. Combine these vivid experiences with nods to dancefloor-focused styles she loves – think organic house, nu-disco, Afro-house, dub disco, Afro-disco and Brazilian club cuts – and you have a debut solo album that’s as imaginative and entertaining as they come.
Taken as a whole, International Love Affair more than lives up to the promise of its title, marking out Robinson as one of electronic music’s most inventive and on-point global fusionists.