Song: Barbarossa – Iris2Iris review

By Joseph Purcell

Barbarossa, the name for UK singer and producer James Mathe, returns with a bustling three minutes of electronica in the shape of new single Iris2Iris. A synth-layered soundtrack propels a pop-centric vocal that delivers a tale inspired by periods of reflection and introspection. Mathe, stirred by the challenges of trying to live in the present, tries to confront the hurdles each day brings.

‘I was thinking about how I have moments of clarity more and more as I get older of what is really meaningful in my life and how I can best use my time in this life,’ explains Mathe. ‘The moments are often short-lived though, so I look at ways of accessing this mental state more. My kids bring me into this state and nature too. I jump in icy water now I live by the sea and it brings me into fight or flight, it brings what’s important to the forefront of my mind. The song is about spending more of your life with your eyes open, confronting everything that you are dealt with.’

Iris2Iris presents something of a change in direction for Mathe. Previous outputs featured an understated folk aesthetic, whereas this new release is a significant step into a more experimental sound. Iris2Iris is an immersive voyage into the mind of Mathe’s creative process, with producer Ghost Cultures’ (Kelly Lee Owens, Daniel Avery) impact felt through the vintage synth notes that delight throughout.

Mathe’s desire to spend more time with his eyes open has propelled him forwards, with a new vigour and accompanying sound, inspired by his visceral reconnection to nature and a creative intent that promises much from his forthcoming record.

Barbarossa’s new album, Love Here Listen, is out on 5th March through Memphis Industries.

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