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Moses Boyd – the multi-award winning drummer, producer, composer and BBC 1Xtra resident DJ – is a confluence of musical tradition. With the multicultural heartbeat of South London as his backdrop, he grew up spending as much time absorbing the sparse, bass-heavy beats of grime as studying the revolutionary drumming of Tony Allen. Nourished by the city’s unique rhythm, Moses has gone on to become the key musical innovator in the jazz-influenced movement he helped to shape and spearhead; seamlessly blending elements from grime, Detroit techno, afrobeat and minimal with anthems like 2016’s Rye Lane Shuffle, mixed by his mentors, Floating Points and Four Tet.
This wide net of touchpoints has allowed the double MOBO and Jazz FM Award winner to produce and collaborate with musicians both in and beyond his circle. The list is extensive, from touring with Sampha and Kelsey Lu, to combining with the likes of Obongjayar, Ed Motta, Little Simz and Lonnie Liston Smith, to his latest collaboration with South African Gqom king DJ Lag, which made its way onto Beyonce’s official soundtrack for The Lion King.
Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood entrusted Boyd to produce Zara McFarlane's 2017 full-length, Arise, plus his drumming can be heard across Sons Of Kemet’s Mercury-nominated album and Theon Cross’ latest LP, which went to #1 on the Jazz & Blues UK Chart. Alongside saxophonist Binker Golding, he’s co-leader and co-producer of the ferocious semi-free group Binker and Moses and their three records – Dem Ones (2015), Journey To The Mountain Of Forever (2017) and Alive In The East? (2018) – are considered milestones in the development of the scene. Plus, Boyd’s talents have trickled over into fashion via his original compositions for the Louis Vuitton Foundation and MoMa Archive film (2017) and scores for the Men's Dunhill Paris Fashion shows in both 2018 and 2019. His signature smile has also landed him in ads for Apple Music and Buxton.
As a professional musician, Moses has remained fiercely independent, releasing all of his previous solo EPs – Footsteps Of Our Fathers (2015), Rye Lane Shuffle (2016), Time & Space (2016), Absolute Zero (2017) and Displaced Diaspora (2018) – through his own Exodus record label. His debut solo album, Dark Matter, is no different. Started after his first trip to South Africa in 2017 when he was indulging in the joys of modular synths and ambient music, it’s creation was a measured, slow-cooked process. Contemplating the record, Boyd explains; “There’s been no pressure or expectation of anything. There was no immediate need to do anything, so I was really free, which was a very liberating experience. It’s a very produced record, with many different sounds, setups, places and music taken from various different places and sessions. But I feel like finally it sounds like I’m a producer who also plays jazz”.
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