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The story of how Transatlantyk came to be is, in many ways, one typical of our times. We've grown accustomed to being isolated, even stranded, in recent months, and Technology has become our means of overcoming these aspects of quarantine. For Lübeck-based producer David Hanke, a.k.a. Keno, and Los Angeles-based musician Tristan de Liège, their intercontinental relationship began long before the days of lockdowns and social distancing. The pair 'met' on-line through mutual friends back in 2018 and quickly realised they were, in a musical sense, kindred spirits. Their shared tastes meant that what started out as a single track quickly morphed into an EP, and finally the full length album that you're enjoying right now. Tristan's experience as a neo-classical musician was the ideal foil for Hanke's skills with a sample and production expertise. Both shared a love of the more lush and cinematic end of instrumental Hip-Hop and Downtempo music. This sound partnership is evident throughout the album, but particularly on tracks like Nkosi, and the title track, where luscious string sections dance playfully with fractured, programmed beats; or the melancholic opener, Kouyou, where more laid back drums underpin muted horns and joyous harps. The pair's perfectly formed fusion isn't the end of the story though, as French chanteuse Elodie Rama is on hand to provide not only some impeccable vocals, but also irresistible melodies to this already mellifluous long-player. Speak The Language sees this brilliant vocalist drift seamlessly between euphonious song and spoken word whilst delivering one of the ariose moments of the whole album. Elsewhere, on Dancing In The Dark, Elodie gives a slightly more sombre performance, combining with lavish strings and driving rhythms to a tee; and on To Find A Way offers up an even more emotional and almost heart-breaking performance, aided by wistful and forlorn instrumentation. Transatlantyk is a body of work from an amalgamation of rare talents who combine beautifully to take us through myriad emotions; from the urgent and compelling Off The Mark via the pensive Forever We Were, and finally find their Way Across thanks to a shared love of graceful and refined musicality and a good song. To this day the three have never actually met in person, but here's a last hopeful thought that one day soon, as we emerge out of the darkness, they can finally join together in a physical, as well as a musical, embrace.