One to watch: Berlioz

“If Matisse made house music” sounds like an over-earnest tagline for Jasper Attlee’s jazz-house project, Berlioz. Yet it’s not entirely serious. Berlioz is named after a character in 70s Disney animation The Aristocats, not the French composer, and the line captures important things about the English producer currently having a moment, with a streaming audience so huge he’s by some metrics the UK’s most-listened to jazz act.

One of those things is the importance of visual art to Berlioz. Born in Cape Town, bred by the English seaside in Cornwall, Attlee started off making jazz-tinged electronic productions under the name Ted Jasper. In the past year, however, Berlioz has become his main hustle, thanks to Instagram and other social media feeds using Berlioz instrumentals to soundtrack animations, film and TV clips (Wes Anderson and Twin Peaks are favourites). Add Attlee’s love of impressionism, bringing its philosophy of spontaneity to his work, and the Matisse line makes more sense.

New Berlioz album Open This Wall is slightly reminiscent of cult Parisian genius Ludovic Navarre’s St Germain work, without Navarre’s predilection for wild explorations of jazz and blues. Berlioz tracks such as Joycelyn’s Dance are superbly constructed and comforting without being challenging – the title of debut EP Jazz Is for Ordinary People was well chosen – and it’s usually through gateways such as this that listeners will wend their way to jazz’s outer shores. If you can still get tickets, Attlee’s live touring band flesh out this fledgling sound beautifully.

Open This Wall is out on 12 July. Berlioz plays the O2 Academy Brixton, London, on 17 October

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The Guardian

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