Beatenberg

A Cape Town-based Trio with International Pop Resonance

Cape Town-based trio, Matthew Field (vocals and guitar), Robin Brink (drums) and Ross Dorkin (bass) deliver a unique  sound that effortlessly embrencapsulates mainstream South African pop. Moved by poetry and art, Matthew took inspiration from a sketch of the Swiss town of  Beatenberg, in a book of lectures by expressionist Paul Klee. Classically trained and locally inspired, they formed in 2008 with the express desire to introduce us all to something new.

On the release of their debut, The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg in 2014 the album became a showcase for the possibilities of pop music, exploring Kwaito, House and Mbaqanga. Beatenberg has broken radio chart records and won numerous awards as a result, including a sweep of the South African Music Awards including Album of the Year, Duo or Group of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Best Pop Album and four awards for the riveting single “Pluto (Remember You)”.

Now joining Island Records in the Spring of their international musical journey, they released 12 Views of Beatenberg at the close of 2018.

“The ’12 Views’ is mainly a reference (via division by a third) to Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mt Fuji. In Hokusai’s series of 36 prints, the mountain – which is a volcano – is represented as seen from 36 different positions in the surrounding region and throughout the seasons. What I like is how inventive and varied these ‘views’ are,” says Matt.” The mountain is sometimes snowy, sometimes fiery, sometimes pale, sometimes just an outline; sometimes the mountain is the central focus of the image, but sometimes it is just a little triangle on the horizon of a completely separate scene. I have lived in Cape Town almost all my life and while working on this album I instinctively and vaguely plugged Table Mountain into this scheme as a kind of Mt Fuji… In my mind Table Mountain became, very loosely, a symbol for a kind of constant, unavoidable but sometimes stifling awareness of one’s place in the world and history. This is maybe the most meaningful way that the title reflects concerns and considerations throughout the work.”

To usher in this fine body of work, the band took to touring with friends The World of Birds performing alongside them for a portion of their small-stage encounters. This tour saw them traveling from their mother-city hometown across the country via staples like Johannesburg, East London and George, as well as beyond to Lesotho and Botswana, to re-establish a connection with their audience after a lengthy break. Already preparing for their next string of releases, who knows what these three talented musicians will bless the music world with next.

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