Roberts grew up in the Welsh coastal town of Bangor, and began creating rudimentary tunes on an old desktop computer which had been gifted to him by an uncle. This gift proved crucial to Roberts; rural north Wales can feel very distant from any music scene, but this old computer’s hard drive contained an “encyclopaedic body of pop, electronica, and house” ranging from Moby to Lemon Jelly. This cache was essentially Roberts’ introduction to listening to electronic music, making him realise he wanted to be a music producer, and by the time he’d left school, he’d unlocked the processes that allowed Koreless to be born.
After a series of early releases, including his debut EP, 4D, in 2011, he started working with Young, then Young Turks, releasing collaborative work with Sampha and the Yūgen EP. And then he turned his attention to his debut album, which has taken five years to complete. “I work very quickly actually, but I’m also very thorough, and find it hard to leave stones unturned,” he says. “Some of the tracks on this album have been through hundreds of iterations. Getting from the start to the end of the track is such a twisted journey for me. I’m talking about spending 15 hours a day, seven days a week over a period of years.”
Agor is filled with hidden depths, we’re told, existing at sensory thresholds, helping guide the listener from one realm to another less visited. “It straddles various worlds of dance, ambient, and contemporary classical while not sounding like an example of any of them,” the London label tells XLR8R. Its title means “open” in Welsh.
To accompany the announcement, Roberts shared “Joy Squad,” a track that has been played by Caribou, Jamie xx, and TNGHT in their BBC Essential mixes. It’s Roberts’ attempt “to build a club rollercoaster that swallows you up and spits you out.”
The album cover features artwork by visual artist Daniel Swan, and it results from a trip to the mountains near Snowdonia, where he and Roberts hiked and built a sequence of home-spun portal machines threading a path through the mountains into the forest. “It’s like the idea of physical objects which link together,” Swan says, “taking you on a specific geographical journey, acting like lenses to view the landscape differently, kind of an analogue of the way the tracks of the record might change the way you experience specific places in a certain way.”
02. Black Rainbow
04. White Picket Fence
06. Joy Squad
Agor LP is scheduled for July 9 release. Meanwhile, you can stream “Black Rainbow” and “Joy Squad” in full via the player below and pre-order here.