St Lucian born, London grown and Paris-based producer and songwriter Poté has followed up his 2018 debut Spiral my love with a new extended player A Tenuous Tale of Her. The aim, says the beatmaker-lyricist, was “to write something that can live on stage without you present.” Sonically the eleven songs that complete A Tenuous Tale of Her released on the 4th June are in step with the borderless creative salon that is Noirwave.
Finding his sound via DIY releases for Scratch Perverts imprint Black Gold, Poté’s noughties era productions were club-focussed odes to the dancefloor with shades of emotion at the edges. “I was entering a rediscovery of my culture, and my background,” he says, explaining, “I wanted to draw on that percussion of the Caribbean, and try to unite that with the reason I started writing music: as a valve for my emotions.”
Discovering Buraka Som Sistema and connecting with Branko (one fifth of the recently reformed Lisbon based collective) he signed to the Lisbon based label Enchufada in 2015 and the Afropean sounds of kuduro and zouk bass became part of Poté’s palette. Then in 2019 he hopped on board Damon Albarn’s pan-African Africa Express for the intensive songwriting residency that became Egoli – the collective and label’s last album on which he joined forces with fellow Londoner, Ghetts, on the track “Twirl”.
Albarn returns the favour on A Tenuous Tale of Her which begins with “Under” a jittery two-step of syncopated handclaps and synths which provide a backdrop to Poté’s vocal. Like Albarn who takes the lead on “Young Lies” there is something vulnerable about Poté’s delivery with its delicious weariness. But A Tenuous Tale of Her traverses more emotions than just ennui.
Sunshine filled steel pans play on “Good2U” featuring South London’s INFAMOUSIZAK, a fellow all round producer and rapper with an indie sensibility.
Poté’s 2019 move to Paris where he worked on much of the album resulted in a sense of freedom evident in his aesthetic (see his recent Colours show) and the emotional honesty of A Tenuous Tale of Her.
“It really shakes your reality up” Poté says of relocating, something this young artist who draws on diasporic dance music subcultures to create something of his own, has already done more than once.
True to the manifesto of Noirwave, a movement created by another son of the diaspora Petite Noir that simply instructs “to conform only to non-conformity”, Poté is unafraid to take musical risks.
Thus 3 cuts in on A tenuous Tale of Her on “Lows” the loops begin to overlap and clash building pixelated polyrhythms. There’s plenty of juxtaposition elsewhere on A Tenuous Tale of Her too, from the abrasive industrial sound of “Valley”, to the ethereal “Plastic Prayers” with its sustained organ and echoing 808 snares.
And so, like many a great story, A Tenuous Tale of Her leaves you wanting to live in its world a little longer and rewards with each listen. Lucky Londoners can also join Poté for the album launch party at Camden’s Jazz Cafe on Thursday, June 24th.
A Tenuous Tale of Her available on all platforms.