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Catalogue Number
Release Date
July 9, 2021


Ten years in the making, and six years removed from the last release proper as Koreless, Lewis Roberts makes good on his evident promise with a stunning debut album. “Agor” is akin to an infinitely-looping GIF which zooms past molecular level and comes out the other side, opening up to an entire whole universe.

Carefully-considered sound design was always something which set Roberts apart as a producer, even when his singles at the start of the 2010s were closer in thrust to 'post-dubstep’s grand rearrangement. In 2013, Roberts’ EP “Yūgen” switched into a different lane than his contemporaries, focusing on rippling, weightless compositions that were typically played out by DJs as a dramatic set opener or curtain-closer. The record was slightly ahead of what contemporary audiences pined for, but discerning listeners could detect Roberts’ fastidious attention to detail would lead to somewhere perfect in time. “Agor” is that record.

Already a musician for whom visual descriptors fit best — the temptation to call the music here ‘cinematic’ is overwhelming — on “Agor” seems as if Roberts’ music has taken potential cues from an audiovisual collaboration he worked on and toured alongside Emmanuel Biard. Spending time inside the album feels like sticking a hand out into dappled light, or seeing lasers arc and slice through the air. It’s uncanny, rousing and serene all in one.

Through lush pads, rippling Roberts' tone mastery is a marvel. On the album’s opening suite, juxtaposition is a constant: ‘Yonder’ begins with a sub-zero atmosphere before thawing it out, rolling into the pensive ‘Black Rainbow’ and its de facto coda, ‘Primes’, one of many expository interludes that contain recurring leitmotifs, helping to bridge the album’s phases and maintain the spell.

‘Joy Squad’ is the hit many Koreless fans were holding out for; an early version was circulated amongst artists like Jamie XX, Oli XL and Caribou, all of whom treasured it like an opulent heirloom, only allowing flashes and glimpses on rare occasions. The song is both highlight and outlier, all scanning torches and unresolved tension, accentuated by moments of calm. Even when Roberts flirts with the darkside, he can’t help but remain in light.

Whether employing micro-spliced vocal samples or digitised instruments, there is a clarity at play reminiscent of hearing a bell chime underwater. ‘White Picket Fence’ and ‘Act(s)’ have an almost prairie quality to them, wide and flat synth-vistas with only a bone chill for company. You can draw parallels to Lorenzo Senni’s self-anointed pointillistic trance, Barker’s drum-devoid anthems, Oneohtrix Point Never circa “R Plus Seven” or Gobby’s medieval dalliances — yet Roberts endeavours to keep it simple. A good chunk of the time spent working on “Agor” must have been committed to refinement and reduction, forever tinkering with the album’s composite parts, gesturing toward the shadow of an object unseen.

“Agor” rounds out with ‘Strangers’, which feels informed by Autechre’s timeless “Amber” closers, ‘Yulquen’ and ‘Nil’. That’s not a comparison we employ lightly. Forget cinematic — this is the sound of waking up on an alien planet and coming to terms with an entirely different ecosystem. Just as grass forces through mesh on “Agor”’s cover, Roberts finds a way to bind the synthetic and organic, creating a tactile whole. Nothing else in 2021 sounded quite like it.

Digital Tracklist

Track List

  1. Yonder
  2. Black Rainbow
  3. Primes
  4. White Picket Fence
  5. Act(s)
  6. Joy Squad
  7. Frozen
  8. Shellshock
  9. Hance
  10. Stranger
  • Agor


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Electronic and Electronica

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