His bedroom pop is provoking all manner of praise Clash Magazine
Sweetly melancholic vocals Interview Magazine
CLARENS will release a new single ‘Pray’, on November 24 through French DJ & Producer Yuksek’s label Partyfine. The track- also produced by Yuksek- is the follow-up to debut single ‘Trust’, released earlier this year via the label’s 1st anniversary compilation Partyfine Vol.1 (alongside the likes of Alex Metric, Le Tigre and Oh Land).
The guiding hand of Pierre-Alexandre Busson (better known as Yuksek) across ‘Pray’ is particularly fitting, given that this new track was borne out of the particularly bewildering period 4 years previously, when a then 18 year old Ousseynou Cissé (CLARENS) arrived alone in Rennes, North France, spurred two and a half thousand miles away from his birthplace in Dakar by the dogged determination to realize his musical ambitions at any cost. A burgeoning love for electronic music soon manifested itself in various remixes for local bands, eventually piquing the interest of Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic, producer and singer for whip-smart disco-pop purveyors Juveniles.
Le Gouic’s support was soon borne out in an extended stint for Cissé as the bassist in Juveniles’ touring line-up, where a shared bill alongside Yuksek brought CLARENS to the attention of Busson. Impressed by what he heard of Cissé’s demos, Busson asked to produce CLARENS’ debut material, thus sealing a light-speed assimilation into the Partyfine family. Speaking about the preceding period of uncertainty which had originally informed ‘Pray’, Cissé says; ‘When I arrived in Rennes I was determined to become a musician by any means, not only because it is music that makes me feel alive, but also because music is the only thing I can do properly. I wrote this song as a prayer towards anyone who could help me become the person I am today- I didn’t know at the time that my wish would be fulfilled that fast.’
Whilst ‘Pray’ may well have been shaped by unease and more than a little fear, there’s a certain sense of inevitability in the backing of CLARENS’ musical patrons across the track’s insistently warm RnB milieu. Burbling synths, stuttering snare samples and offbeat bursts of hand-claps jostle with those carefully nuanced vocals, which nod to a love as strong for Kendrick Lamar as Blood Orange and Kindness.
Whilst the soubriquet CLARENS may have been selected at random by a teenage Cissé, ‘Pray’ bolsters that growing sense that his burgeoning success is fuelled by anything but chance.