London-based singer and producer Dornik never went after the spotlight, but the spotlight found him anyway. The quiet spoken Croydon native was content for years to stay behind the drumkit, drumming for popstars on tour and keeping his own bedroom-recorded, sun-streaked electronic love songs a secret. "It was just a private hobby," he says now. "I never saw myself as a frontman." It was while on tour with Jessie Ware that she heard his demos, and immediately knew he'd be right at home alongside her on PMR, the home of forward-thinking, leftfield pop. If it wasn't for her, the world might never have stumbled across this hidden gem. With his debut self-titled album, Dornik is set to bring something unique to the PMR roster. Brimming with classic funk-infused melodies as if heard through a mirage of electronics, Dornik's is a kind of introverted soul.
The album plays like a Michael Jackson record made explicitly for 2015, by an artist up too late and lit by the glow of a screen. With PMR behind him, Dornik made his first appearance on the musical landscape back in 2013, with the bubbling electronic soul of "Something About You." Over the course of the next two years, he followed this with "Rebound," "On My Mind" and "Second Thoughts": groove-led jams that focus around his percussionist obsession with creating addictive rhythms. It was while writing these particular songs that Dornik also found his groove with storytelling, describing his process as being like "scripting a short film." Impressionistic yet passionate, the result is something like a film full of palm tree-fringed montages; dream sequences bleed into love scenes, with lyricism that weaves everyday observation into far-off fantasy. With echoes and filters roughening up his impossibly fluid vocal, and wriggling synth lines that weave in and out of the melody, these four tracks set a template for what to expect from Dornik. The album that follows is like the 1980s sent in a time capsule to the 2050s; on "Blush," Dornik's vocal drifts dreamily forward as if out of a rose-tinted haze, and by the end of "Strong," he's confidently strutting over a quick-stepping 80s pop beat. Its timeless song-writing and yet futuristic flourishes make it impossible to pin down, but "Dornik" is unquestionably right for one time in particular: "itÃ¢ÂÂs a summer album, for in the car on the sunny day" says Dornik. That's the laid-back vibe captured by lead single "Drive," which cruises forward on a funk beat, with self-aware lyrics that describe falling in love at first play with a song on the radio. That's what might just happen to you with Dornik; but if it doesn't, thatÃ¢ÂÂs fine by him too. Like the song "Stand In Your Line", which tells a love interest he's willing to wait in line for her, Dornik is willing to wait for you to slowly settle into his music; to escape the churn of the hype machine and simply live with his soulful melodies a little while. "I believe in slow and steady," he explains. "Climbing rather than the straight jump." The world had to wait a little while for Dornik to emerge into the spotlight, and that's cool by him. His music is made to be absorbed, to get right under the skin: the more time you spend with it, the more you just might discover.