“It feels like a real personal album because of everything I’ve gone through, we’ve gone through, the world’s gone through. It’s why we make music… When you’re in that process of making a tune, you’re able to focus on that. You’re in that moment, right? That’s what it’s all about. You forget about the world around you. That’s definitely the case as a music maker and we want the listener to feel that too. Lose yourself for a little bit, forget about it a little bit.” (Phil Collis)
Escapism, immersion, bringing people together… Some of the most important healing powers and positive strengths of music are celebrated on Bachelors Of Science’s fourth album Within This Moment.
A body of work that spans right back to the first sketches written after their last album The Space Between in 2015, Within This Moment has been one of the San Francisco trio’s slowest-baked and longest incubated LPs to date, but perhaps one of their most consistent albums too.
Sonically it’s held together with positivity and a subtle sense of uplift and fun running throughout (especially in skits like Season Of Aries and Noise Complaint) While behind the scenes, the whole creative process was characterised by last minute additions, chance encounters and a generous helping of real-time collaborations.
“A lot of things are done these days where a producer will send a beat and the songwriter / singer will send back an idea and the producer will write around that,” explains Lukeino Argilla, one third of the group. “But a huge deal of this album was done with the vocalists in the studio with us. That’s how a lot of magical things can happen. Sharing ideas, sharing experiences in life and bouncing ideas off each other.”
The magic comes thick and fast as we’re eased into the moment by the title track. The spoken word echoing with strong elements of mindfulness, we’re encouraged to draw ourselves closer to the album and let ourselves go. It works…
Before we know it, we’re awash with hypnotic shimmering textures and appearances from their long-time friend Ben Soundscape and the vocals of Pat Fulgoni. A singer who needs no introduction, his rich range of blues appears twice on the LP, once with the poignant longing of Different Eyes then later on the much more urgent and earthy Stomp. These collaborations are a telling snapshot of the album’s musical range and how far back in time many of the ideas take root.
“I met Pat the week before Sun And bass 2018 at Ben Soundscape’s studio, that’s almost exactly four years ago,” Lukeino recalls. “I was over in Bristol for a while, so I hit up Pat and he made the journey from Huddersfield. He was very excited to be involved as we had been trying to do something together for a while. We were in Ben Soundsape’s studio. We recorded Pat singing on Stomp then we all wrote Different Eyes together the same night.”
“Stomp actually started a few years before that when I was in Sundance film festival for work,” adds Phil. “It was the eve of the Trump inauguration and there were lots of protests. There was tension and anger and a feeling of revolt. I was looking for something that felt American but had history to it and some rise up feelings. Pat’s voice worked so well for it. He was perfect. So that’s a great example of how things span over time and take a life of their own.”
Pat’s not alone. Each vocal collaboration comes with its own story and sense of connection; Maria Remos has worked with Bachelors Of Science for over 10 years, Soultrain Locomotive (who also appeared on their last album) worked with Luke in his Berlin studio, the legendary Spikey Tee happened to be passing through San Francisco while on tour and was up for making a connection, Robert Manos, meanwhile, one of the most distinctive and soulful singers in drum & bass, wasn’t with them in the studio, but the experience was just as magic as their first connection with him was in person at Sun And Bass.
“I got very fanboy at that moment,” Phil laughs. “We went over, had a word, and kept in touch and sent over ideas and that developed.”
“For me, Move On, the track he did with Seba back in the day, was a special record for me,” adds Lukeino. “I was going through a terrible break up at the time and that record helped me get through that. I’ve been a huge fan of him so it’s been an amazing experience to work with him and just to work with everyone who’s been involved as it all came together. This has been a really special album.”
Another special collaboration came from Marianna Ray: “She actually sent us a demo of Far Away with just her and a guitar which blew us away so that one was also done remotely but we shared a genuine connection over chat and now it feels like we know her even though we have yet to meet in person.”
These type of encounters, coincidences and moments of poignancy do help to highlight how personal the album is for the band, and how well they translate that musically. As we still recover from a time when IRL collabs haven’t always been possible, understanding Within This Moment’s timeline creates an interesting sense of perspective.
Written throughout a time when the world has turned inside out – and all members of the group have had their own challenges to overcome – they’ve maintained a consistency that’s ultimately charged with hope, transcending world events and reminding us how fleeting things seem the minute we’ve overcome them. Even if it felt like the end of the world at the time. This conjures up a timelessness and a sense of immersion that the band have always hinted at, but never executed quite as succinctly as they have now.
“Art is subjective and we want the album to be open to interpretation and for people to find their own meaning,” Lukeino concludes. “But to keep things in a positive light at a dark time is definitely something we try and do.”