Two years ago, Ferdi Schuster was a young multi-instrumentalist and producer daydreaming of releasing his music on Claremont 56, one of his favourite labels. Now he's set to release his stunning debut album, "All One", on Paul Murphy's long-running imprint.
It's been a long time between drinks for the German producer, who last graced C56 with his superb double A-side single, "Little River/Befreit", in the autumn of 2017. Fittingly, it's "Little River" – a babbling brook of audio bliss rich in samba-influenced drums, soothing acoustic guitars and spacey synthesizer licks – that kicks off "All One", a seductive set in which every drumbeat, piano note, guitar riff, synthesizer flourish and fireside-warm bassline was played by the man himself.
Throughout, it's easy to see why Murphy decided to snap up Schuster and push the producer to record a debut album. Check, for example, the dubbed-out shuffle of "Thinking of You", where ghostly chords, soft-focus guitar solos and ethereal vocals drift across the soundscape, and the slowly unfurling bliss of "The Good Fight", an effortlessly Balearic workout rich in sun-kissed guitars, bubbly synth lines and chords so snugly they could probably be used as a comfort blanket.
Schuster's greatest strength is undoubtedly the evocative and enveloping nature of his instrumental music, which draws on a variety of complimentary influences but never sounds anything less than original and fresh. Some listeners may be enchanted by the loose and languid pulse of "Fading Away" or the lo-fi reggae-jazz of dusty closing cut "Night Talk", though others may prefer the stoned funk shuffle of "Interaction" or the spacey vibrations of "Pulsa", where intergalactic synthesizer lines wind their way around heady bass guitar and sparse, off-kilter deep electro drums.
"All One" is that kind of set; an atmospheric and musically accomplished collection of cuts capable of muting the mundane and distracting from the stress of 21st century life. As debut albums go, it's something of a stunner.