In an age where dance music is becoming increasingly genre fluid, Baba Stiltz is certainly a figurehead for all things off-the-wall. Born in Stockholm and raised between the US and Sweden, the former ballet dancer has continuously defied categorisation. His involvement in dance music began at the tender age of 15, releasing quirky electro-pop under the moniker the Bethlehem Beard Corporation; fittingly paving the way for a career defined by his bold indifference to the scene’s conventions. A decade later, the artist has been a key player in the Scandinavian abstract electro-funk scene, worked alongside Swedish hip hop heavyweight Yung Lean, and become a regular feature of Axel Boman and Kornél Kovács left-field heavyweight label Studio Barnhus, which has served as a creatively liberal platform for a large body of his more recent work.
Aesthetically, his current stylistic signatures are difficult to pinpoint; with his 2014 debut LP “Total” exploring downtempo, whimsical soundscapes, followed by heady disco burners such as “Cherry” and “Keep It Lit”, and the exuberantly pop-tinged vocals and synth heavy left-field grooves that defined his pair of 2017 Barnhus EPs “Is Everything” and “Cant Help It”. His latest output on iconic British label XL Recordings, aptly entitled “Showtime”, moves still further towards a penchant for electro pop, and places the spotlight firmly on his eccentricity. Despite the unconventional nature of this sonic shift, Stiltz glides adroitly over perplexing boundaries of taste, that, for any other artist, might verge on parodic. For both Stiltz and his music, however, these idiosyncrasies are entirely authentic, and what might seem paradoxical at first glance quickly reveals itself as exceptional artistry.
Fresh from a highly acclaimed 2018 R.A podcast and 4 page spread in Dazed & Confused, Stiltz has cemented himself as a favourite of all facets of the dance music community, regularly igniting dance floors from Fabric to Berghain and beyond with the same vivacious and uninhabited style that he so ably encapsulates in his production. Ultimately, as Stiltz himself expressed in a recent interview, “music is everything, so I think it makes sense to do everything”; we can’t wait for what is in store when he brings this motto to Leeds on Saturday!