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cktrl robyn
Make-up Ammy DrammehIb Kamara

This artist visualises what heartbreak could look like on his face

TextAlex Peters

Musician cktrl teams up with Ib Kamara and Ammy Drammeh for the striking, gorgeous cover of his latest EP Robyn

What does heartbreak look like? If it was represented on your body, if it took corporeal form, making its physical mark as well as emotional. For musician cktrl it’s a fresh wound, beaten skin, a black eye. 

Today, the Lewisham-based producer, NTS DJ and multi-instrumentalist drops his latest EP titled Robyn. Released through Touching Bass, the EP is gorgeously minimal and wrenchingly soul-baring, a six-track exploration of contemporary classical from the Black perspective that charts a journey from heartbreak and loss to strength and optimism.

To represent the physical form of love lost and hearts broken, cktrl teamed up with Ib Kamara and make-up artist Ammy Drammeh for the album’s stark, visually arresting artwork. “When it’s fresh, you're just spiralling, miserable and beaten,” cktrl says of the EP cover on which he appears staring down the camera lens, a sense of both defeat and defiance in his eyes. “It’s a before and after. The image is the before and the music itself demonstrates the journey of moving through those feelings after. The EP is a reflection of that pain and the journey of healing.”

Released into a year that has witnessed a global reckoning on race, the EP, cktrl says, also grapples with the events of the last few months. “With everything happening globally, it questions our collective humanity as black people and how that is lost and broken with stereotypes and the normalisation of seeing black people being killed online,” he says. “We breathe, we feel and we’re tired.”

Robyn is out everywhere today and available here.

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