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Blue Lab Beats

Blue Lab Beats are a North London-based, jazz-hop, electronica duo comprised of producer NK-OK (Namali Kwaten) and multi-instrumentalist Mr DM (David Mrakpor). The pair are an integral part of the city's diverse modern scene that integrates musicians from the worlds of jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and electronica. Blue Lab Beats have issued more than 30 releases since their debut EP Blue Skies in 2016; they cross those genres and more with their utterly unique, soulful meld of grooves, melodies, samples, and beats. That musical diversity has resulted in being hired to do remixes for Jodie Abacus, Dua Lipa, Rag'n'Bone Man, and many more. The duo's 2018 debut long-player, Xover, was recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios and included appearances from U.K. jazz luminaries Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd, and Nérija, as well as grime rapper Kojey Radical and soul maven Tiana Major9. 2019's Voyage wove more electro, funk, and R&B into their mixes, though they expanded on those genres with subsequent and associated remixes. The pair issued half-a-dozen singles and EPs in 2020 including the charting, Afro-Brazilian-influenced "Não Tem Nada Não" (featuring Kaida Akinnibi and Theo Croker), and contributed a widely acclaimed cover/remix of Bobby Hutcherson's classic "Montara" composition to the Blue Note Re:Imagined sampler. In April 2021, Blue Lab Beats issued the collaborative digital mix set The Sounds of Afrotronica with Akinnibi, and their official debut for Blue Note Records, the We Will Rise EP arrived in June. In February 2022, the long-player Motherland Journey arrived from the label, showcasing the duo with a host of collaborators including Ghanian producer KillBeatz -- who employed the vocals of Fela Kuti on the title track -- Ghetto Boy, Keifer, Tiana Major9, and Kofi Stone. After touring and releasing a small handful of singles, the band issued the long-player Blue Eclipse as their Decca debut in April 2024.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo


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