Spend enough time in blue-sky Los Angeles, and you will come to relish the occasional overcast days. They make you feel like you're someplace else, a world of your own, perhaps one you left behind. The clouds seem to slow everything down and draw you inward, connecting you with thoughts and feelings that the eternal sunshine tends to submerge.
On days like these, I like to make melancholy playlists and just wallow in them. I love sad songs - they make you feel so much, and sometimes in this thing called life, just feeling something is worth a lot - so it was fitting that on one of these rare gray, wistful days earlier this year I discovered the music of Kauf. It has been in my system ever since.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, "What's with this emo drivel? Isn't this a dance music outlet? Isn't dance music about throwing your hands up and shaking your ass while riding a unicorn to PLUR heaven?"
Yeah. Sometimes that is true. But sometimes things fall apart, and people fail us, and the world seems strange and unforgiving, and everything feels out of control, and we lose touch with who we are. Dance music can be about that too. This is Kauf's province.
Kauf, the musical project of Ron Kaufman, came together after he moved cross country from Florida back to his native Los Angeles. After a few experimental rock bands didn't pan out, he dove headlong into electronic music, obsessively collecting synthesizers and experimenting with dense layers of sound, his own vocals drenched in gauzy echo. The rhythms, inspired by the au courant downtempo house trend, made a perfect bed for his melancholic and deeply personal yet opaque lyrics. Kauf offers something rare for electronic singer-songwriters: soulful, intelligent, and fully realized songs.
A self-released single, 2011's "Relocate" b/w "When You're Out," eventually emerged and found its way into the hands of Cut Copy mastermind Dan Whitford. He released Kauf's debut EP, "As Much Again," on his own Cutter Records label and the response was overwhelming. KCRW, SPIN, XLR8R, and NPR all showed strong support and airplay. Remix offers – for the likes of Poliça, The Big Pink and Public Service Broadcasting – came pouring in, and Kauf toured and performed with Cut Copy, Maribou State, and many others.
Now, on the crest of all this buzz, Kauf is perfecting his first full-length album, "Regrowth," due in early 2017. The record explores the pathos of relationships breaking down – family, friends, lovers – and the reckoning needed for reconciliation. But, rest assured, Kauf's point of view is one of hope; we are left with redemption rather than desolation. He has been teasing the album throughout 2016 with a stunning batch of singles and remixes, including "Through The Yard" and "A Ruin." Both tracks made the Top 10 of The Hype Machine, supported by dozens of tastemaker music blogs, and earned strong spins from BBC Radio 1 and KCRW. Kauf also held down a month-long residency at The Echo in L.A..
We are very proud to be part of this promising new artist's story and present to you the digital premiere of the latest single from Kauf, "Key To Life," with a huge, cinematic reworking from the UK's Ambassadeurs.
Listen to it now and reach for it on a cloudy day.