If you need that weekend feeling on a Tuesday, then look no further than this week's Artist Focus, where we are grooving to Shanti Celeste's gorgeous debut album Tangerine.
(Image by Nic Kane)
Released in November 2019, Tangerine serves as a coda to the qualities that have established Celeste as one of the most instinctive and generous underground DJs in the current landscape of dance music. Beginning as a record store assistant at Idle Hands in Bristol and now a fixture of some of the world’s most acclaimed clubs and festivals, Celeste’s instincts and curiosity have forged a musical space that is very much her own. Whether playing in sweat-drenched basements, or to vast numbers at festivals, her music strikes a balance between the melodic richness of the legacy of the music of Detroit, alongside the natural ease with which she carries across tempos that embody UK Soundsystem traditions. Tangerine is Celeste’s most fully-realised contribution thus far to this continuum of musical culture.
More than that, Tangerine is an innate extension of Shanti’s self, telling stories beyond
her record box, and delving into her personal history. Her manipulated voice
serves as the bedrock of the tracks. There's a kalimba, recorded at her father's home in
Chile. There are, of course, her rich synthesizers that wrap her tracks like velvet cloaks,
providing the familiar warmth and colour we know from her work so far on labels such
as Idle Hands and Future Times. There’s even her characteristic paintings on the cover.
Here, on her very own Peach Discs, the label she co-runs with good friend Gramrcy,
Celeste naturally delivers her most impressive and wholly personal work.
(Image by Jimi Heritage)
Creating Tangerine has been a space for Celeste to explore all of this, with the freedom
that comes from the easing of expectations (earned by an artist with the passing of
time). Striking a balance between deeper, understated sounds, and a gradual build
towards the fleet-footed bursts of rave energy that Celeste is known for, Tangerine
peels back layers of dreamy textures to reveal an optimistic afterglow, reflecting a life
devoted to club culture.
“When I made music for EPs, sometimes I felt restricted,” she says. “I would think too
much about creating the moments on the dancefloor I love - seeing visions of ecstatic
people hugging...I didn’t give myself free reign to express all of myself. Writing an album
made me feel free of all this because it seemed like an open-ended project. I could just
keep creating until I felt like stopping”.