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Sweet Baboo

Idioma disponível: inglês
Sweet Baboo is the musical alias of Welsh singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Black whose idiosyncratic style encompasses psychedelia, indie pop, folk, electronic, and even classical music. Active since the early-2000s, Black has maintained a prolific output during his first two decades with albums like 2011's I'm a Dancer / Songs About Sleeping and 2017's Wild Imagination earning nominations for the Welsh Music Prize. Alongside his work as Sweet Baboo, Black is also one half of the avant garde clarinet and piano duo Group Listening with longtime collaborator Paul Jones. Although many of his recordings have appeared on the Moshi Moshi label, Black has also spearheaded his own imprints including Amazing Tapes From Canton which released his 2023 full-length, The Wreckage. Born in the rural village of Trefriw, Wales, Black's early musical education ranged from his older brothers' tastes (the Beatles and Guns N' Roses) to the psychedelic pop of '90s Welsh acts like Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. He continued to explore pop influences like the Beach Boys, Squeeze, and Jonathan Richman, and spent some time playing in the Cardiff indie band JT Mouse before deciding to go it alone in the front half of the 2000s. Using the name Sweet Baboo (nicked from American cartoonist Charles Shulz's famous Peanuts strip) he experimented with a series of homemade singles and EPs before making his full-length debut with 2008's The Mighty Baboo on his own Businessman Records label. A natural torchbearer of the quirky Welsh indie sound, Black began a prolific run that included 2009's Hello Wave and 2011's I'm a Dancer / Songs About Sleeping, the latter of which received a wider release via regional imprint Shape Records. The album was also nominated for the inaugural Welsh Music Prize that same year, though he lost out to one of his collaborators, Gruff Rhys. By this point Sweet Baboo had gained some momentum and Black joined the bigger Moshi Moshi label for 2013's Motorhome Songs EP and Ships album. A collection of his live TV appearances titled The Marc Riley BBC Sessions saw release the following year. Black's next project, 2015's Scott Walker and Harry Nilsson-inspired The Boombox Ballads, paired him with arranger Paul Jones, another multi-instrumentalist who would go on to become one of his most trusted collaborators. Also during this period, Black began playing with Cate le Bon, appearing both on her album Mug Museum and eventually in her band. Retreating to North Wales to record his next Sweet Baboo project, Black again worked with Paul Jones and Rob Jones -- who also helped produce and engineer -- to record 2017's Wild Imagination. The spontaneous set was captured in just one week and earned Black another Welsh Music Prize nomination. Perhaps more peculiar than any of his previous work, 2018's The Vending Machine Project was a collection literally composed for a local sausage and farm produce vending machine. A collaboration with Charcutier Ltd., the album was included as a reward or incentive to buy from the local foodseller. Putting Sweet Baboo on the backburner, Black and Jones joined forces for a duo project under the name Group Listening. Arranged for clarinet (Black) and piano (Jones), they released a pair of albums that featured minimalist and often abstract covers of songs by a range of artists including Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Big Star, and Laraaji. In early 2023, he revived the Sweet Baboo project with The Wreckage, released by his own Amazing Tapes From Canton label.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
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