Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022)

Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022)

On his third solo album, Fred Gibson (better known as Fred again..) returns with his fingers firmly on the pulse of everything around him. Rounding out a deeply personal trilogy, Actual Life 3 sees the London-based producer, DJ, and singer-songwriter once more thrive on the challenges of sound reinvention and renewal. “I think the feeling that I’ve become really obsessed with is taking very fleeting moments and exposing as much beauty as is in them,” he tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “You know how sometimes if you see something in normal timing, and then you see it in slow-mo, like, ‘Oh wow. There's a whole new emotional framing for this.’” Fred first envisioned this unique narrative in 2020 for his debut, Actual Life, released over lockdown as a remedy to the melancholic uncertainty of the time. Delivering three distinct chapters across 2021, the BRIT Award-winning producer (and longtime mentee of Brian Eno) dives deeper in his cache of bright snippets and samples from everyday scenes, fusing soul, R&B, and bass house elements for jaw-droppingly euphoric and intimate tracks. “Sometimes I’m conscious of it and sometimes I’m not,” he says. “But one thing I know is that when I’m there, I make loads of ideas.” Much of this LP was made on the move, via long airport stops, tube journeys, or lunchtime breaks. And, like its predecessors, this collection is predominantly influenced by this process, with tracks labeled after the people he’s worked with, or the inspirations behind them. Here, Gibson draws euphoria from fleeting emotions, filtering vocals from names including London rapper and singer BERWYN, Toronto poet Mustafa Ahmed, and G.O.O.D Music’s 070 Shake across woozy synths and deep, intrepid basslines. But Actual Life 3 also differs in its greater worldly experience. As is the case with hits he’s penned for the likes of Ed Sheeran, BTS, George Ezra, and Stormzy, tracks including “Delilah (pull me out of this)” (sampling Delilah Montagu’s 2021 single “Lost Keys”) and “Bleu (better with time)” (slicing verses from Yung Bleu’s 2020 track “You’re Mines Still”) arrive with the boost of rapturous unveilings at Gibson’s online DJ sets and gig slots. Although getting the music to people’s ears on these occasions offered an ideal proving ground for his blossoming tracks, it was moments of solitude that gave him the most to work with. “When you're on your own,” he explains, “you can just be in the world—any place that gives you a conveyor belt of humanity, buzzing away in the background, often when there's a bubbling undercurrent of slight excitement, I think that’s just the ultimate gift.”

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