Get to know Charlie Burg: Brooklyn musician, Frank Ocean fan, and one to watch
The Detroit-born musician's new single, Channel Orange In Your Living Room, is an aplty-titled celebration of a great album.
Header image by Jonathan Hunter Duncan.
US-based musician Charlie Burg may not be someone you've acquainted yourself with just yet, but there's a chance you're going to come across him sometime soon. Over the last four years, the Detroit-born and now-New York-based musician has cultivated somewhat of a cult fanbase thanks to his lo-fi, R&B-adjacent bedroom-pop-esque sound, with a hefty discography dating back to his debut work in 2016 allowing him to craft and hone in on a distinctive sound that over the last twelve months especially, has blossomed into one of music's most adored sub-genres, pushing forward musicians like Clairo in the process.
Why Charlie Burg is special though, isn't just because he's been working with these sounds for a while. It's due to his expert songwriting; his ability to tell a story and reflect on his life through skillful lyricism and rich imagery making him a musician you can turn to for whatever emotion you're trying to unearth, from moments a little more light and hopeful to those that sway with this brooding, dark-lit energy - something you really expect from a multi-faceted and complex musician like Charlie, but something that often gets ignored in favour of accessibility through simpleness (which is a whole other thing to be talking about).
Take his last release, 2019's Three, Fever, for example. Despite only running for 25 minutes, the New York musician showcases the exact versatility we're talking about on Three, Fever, switching between slow-stirring ballads that spin with this almost funk-fuelled, R&B-aligned edge (Saturday Hymnal / Bad Dreams), through to disco-inspired bites of indie-dance nostalgia in To Dance Is To Love, right through to dizzying near-instrumentals that show Charlie Burg at his production peak, with the aptly-titled Moog Jam 1 presenting the musician at his most relaxed and free, building rhythms and grooves without the pressure of guest features or top-lines.
In 2020, it seems Charlie Burg is bringing more facets of his personality to the limelight, and showing us more sounds up his sleeve in the process. His new single Channel Orange In Your Living Room is exactly the type of song that showcases Burg's aforementioned brilliant songwriting, utilising a strumming guitar instrumental - lacking that soft, R&B-intertwined groove we talked about before in favour of something far simpler and acoustic - as a backbone for his lyricism that feels as potent as it's ever been (so far), all while sharing a nod to one of his (and ours) favourite records.
As you can presume from the single's title, Channel Orange In Your Living Room is a love letter to Frank Ocean's Channel Orange, although not so much the record itself but the feelings and emotions associated with it as one of R&B's most powerful records. "Channel Orange In Your Living Room is about the unique power of music to be a 'moment freezer', so to speak. Sometimes music feels liquid; it takes on both the shape and essence of the space in which it is experienced, and that is where it will live forever in one’s memory," he says on the single.
It's not too hard to understand why Charlie Burg is attracted to this type of music, as it's a quality that weasels its way into his own work, too. While playing Channel Orange In Your Living Room, it's not too hard to dissociate with your surroundings and lose yourself in his swaying vocals and the emotion that underpins it, much like Channel Orange - the record - does the same. "When I listen to Frank Ocean’s album Channel Orange and I visualize a season or an age or a person, that's going to be very different from what you see," he continues.
"This inherent shape-shifting quality of music fascinates me. I want people to hear my song and allow it to take the shape of their living room - which is to say, their space."
Take a dive into the single below, and keep an eye on Charlie Burg as he blossoms into an artist to keep an eye on with what he has up his sleeve:
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