Belau is an up and coming electronic downtempo chillwave duo from Budapest. Originating in 2016, Peter Kedves and Kriztián Buzás describe themselves as an “electronic duo with a seaside mood”. Their songs are dreamy and laidback, with a relentless devotion to capturing the essence of the summer. They have already experienced formidable successes such as winning a Hungarian Grammy, getting their first hit song “Island of Promise” on the soundtrack of the HBO show Golden Life and having their music featured in ads for Pepsi and Telenor. According to their website, their mission statement is to take their listeners to “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony”.
This must be the place. Belau, here, play their song “Essence” live in Barcelona.
This is extremely evident through their latest single – “Natural Pool” – where Belau create such a dense and summery soundscape that it almost feels otherworldly. Case and point, I was driving to work on a cold, January morning in Toronto when this song came on. My shuffled Spotify switched to this track as I was picking the frost off of my temperature gauge to reveal one of the sorriest sights of a Canadian morning – a minus sign followed by double digits. For us Canadians, January is one of the bleakest parts of winter. Prior to this month, we had Christmas lights and Home Alone played on repeat on the TV to distract us from the sullen cold. Now, with the holidays over and Christmas trees wrapped and thrown to the curb like mob hits, the cold feels stronger than ever.
Not even Tim Hortons coffee can defrost us on days like this
“Natural Pool” begins with the sounds of birds chirping and waves creeping in on a shore. As these sounds fade into an array of glimmering high hats and looped choral arrangements, engulfed in an all-encompassing downtempo bass, I noticed that the snow on the trees around me melted away to reveal palm leaves with toucans perched upon them. With every hint of multi-layered synths and keys littered throughout the track, my car’s temperature gauge rose higher and higher.
Thankfully, the engine of my car was not on fire. This song by Belau put me in a trance as I was taken to the place they described in their mission statement. It’s like I drove into some sort of “Twilight Zone” but not one of supernatural deities and twist endings but one where summer was hiding behind a whiteout snowfall. The Sunlight Zone, if you will. I looked down. The emergency cold weather alert on my phone’s lockscreen turned to one for a heat wave.
The view out of my window. Not from a plane, from a 2010 Honda Civic
There is an eclectic mix of samples woven into this track. Some beckon the listener to “relax and just feel the energy”. The other cooing, non-lyrical chops work as a siren call to the listener to join Belau in their virtual, tropical paradise that they have created. A fully formed soundscape presents itself.
As the track ended to the sound of crashing waves, I looked outside my window and realized that my audio summer vacation was ending as well. These wave sounds gave way to my reality of waves of slush crashing against car tires and sidewalk. Luckily, this escape brought to you by Belau on “Natural Pool” is available at the touch of a button on all major streaming services. No matter the weather, stream it below: