Framed by the breathy drawl and aggressively twanged guitars of its creator, King Krule’s 2013 debut album ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’ was an instant indie classic. So unmistakable was the record’s vibe, you’d be forgiven for thinking its signature sound was the redheaded wunderkind’s sole calling card. Really though, he’s spinning more plates than a Britain’s Got Talent hopeful.
With last October’s ‘The Ooz’ and a whole host of different guises dropping tracks left, right and centre, below we unpick the many sides to the musician occasionally known as Archy Marshall – from electronica to electric guitars, DJ sets to doomy noise.
Brooding, jazzy and soulful, King Krule’s lasting mark on UK indie can be felt to this day. While debut album ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’ is yet to receive a follow-up, its gloomy, film noir aesthetic remains an essential listen nearly four years on. It also found this one-time Peckham scruff hopping the Atlantic for numerous big-time telly slots and back pats from the likes of Beyoncé and Frank Ocean.
Emerging from relative darkness as 2015 drew to a close, Archy Marshall shed the King Krule moniker and opted for his birth name on his first “proper” release since ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’. Ditching the frantic neo-jazz of that King Krule debut for downtempo electronica, ‘A New Place 2 Drown’ harboured that same pulse as the London city nights that Archy himself inhabited. The release also found him collaborating with brother Jack Marshall for an accompanying poetry and photography book and short film.
Edgar the Beatmaker
Heading down a hip-hop path, Archy’s Edgar The Beatmaker guise fuses downtempo and dubstep influences with a classic West Coast rap swagger. Initially released in early 2013 via a series of Bandcamp EPs and mixtapes, culminating in the vital ‘Darkest Shades Of Blue’, Edgar The Beatmaker has since seen new outings through Boiler Room DJ sets, Soundcloud remixes and co-productions alike.
Edgar the Breathtaker
The Jekyll to Beatmaker’s Hyde, Edgar The Breathtaker is an altogether more grimy affair. That West Coast percussion is cast aside in favour of – in Archy’s own words – “new electronic garbage”. His April 2016 Boiler Room set under the Breathtaker moniker (above) was filmed round the corner from Peckham’s near-iconic Bussey Building. It occupies a middle ground between ‘A New Place 2 Drown’’s hazy post-dubstep and the more grizzled vocals of his King Krule work.
DJ JD Sports
Occupying a now-dormant Soundcloud, DJ JD Sports is the hardest of all Archy’s outlets to pin down. One minute he’s exhaling soft, ambient soundscapes on ‘batch1’, the next it’s Mike Skinner-aping lyrical prowess on ‘This Just Life, is alright’. It’s the best evidence to date of his jackrabbit mindset, jumping between styles and genres with ease.
Want to track King Krule’s progression? Dive into Zoo Kid. Marshall’s early stage name could be found frequenting the open mics and pool bars of South East London in the early 2010s. While many of the tracks went on to form ‘6 Feet Beneath the Moon’, there’s an early, scratchy, nervous quality to these recordings that breathes in a whole new life. You can practically hear him learning the ins and outs of home recording those barbed guitars which would go on to be King Krule’s calling card.
Revealed last spring, the South East London don’s latest moniker finds him linking up once more with his brother Jack “and a couple more people who are yet to be named.” The only track to be revealed thus far is ‘Untitled’ (44 mins into his NTS Radio takeover), a probing, swamp-y slice of country-infused noise rock that finds Archy barking about how he “stole your girlfriend”. Charming.