Bicep have just released ‘Isles’, an album which expands on their 2017 debut ‘Bicep’, while digging deeper into the sounds, experiences and emotions that have influenced their lives and work, from early days clubbing in Belfast to their move to London a decade ago.
‘Atlas’ the first track drawn from the record, speaks to their roots, its energy and heft hitting all the harder in uncertain times. Released in March it was recently included in multiple end-of-year best-of-lists, including DJ Mag’s ‘Track of the Year’, it made both the BBC Radio 1 and Radio 6 playlists.
The follow up single ‘Apricots’, released alongside a soulful and disorienting stop-motion video by BAFTA award-winning director Mark Jenkin was also recently named Billboard’s #1 dance track of 2020, and has charted in the Billboard dance/electronic charts, hit #1 on the UK’s Shazam chart, was named ‘Hottest Record’ by Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1—where it has also been playlisted for the past nine weeks and counting.
‘Saku’—featuring vocals from Clara La San—was also released in November and is also currently on the 6 Music playlist. With a subsequent video directed by David Bertram of Parisian creative studio Diplomats portraying a nightmarish world within the confines of a single stairwell.
Elsewhere on the album is the recently released ‘Sundial’, channeling East-London influences through a Bollywood sample—one of many on the record highlighted via the samples page on Bicep’s website—and ‘Cazenove’, which pairs pitch-shifted choral elements with moody pizzicato strings and rave synths, combining to form a slowly building retro-futurist soundscape.
The pair envisage the album as “a snapshot in time” of their work, and ultimately one designed for home listening. “On an album, you want loads of detail for people listening at home,” they said of the record, “the live version will be much, much harder.”
With the live music and touring industry in a state of flux, Bicep will return with another performance on 26 February 2021. Filmed at London’s Saatchi Gallery, and comprising an extended live performance, with additional warm-up act to be announced, the show will once again feature visuals from close BICEP LIVE collaborator Black Box Echo.
Bicep’s ‘Isles’ is out now on Ninja Tune.