Gruff Rhys

Babelsberg is the title of Gruff Rhys’ fifth album. His version exists somewhere between the other two. Having glimpsed the name of the real place from the window of a moving tour van cruising across Europe endless, the idea of the place had been stuck in the back of Gruff’s head for years – a dormant thought waiting for the right time.

“I’d made a note of the name after driving past a sign when I was on tour in 2014,” says Gruff. “Cut to a few years later and the studio where I recorded the album was being knocked down just a week after I finished to make way for a ‘luxury’ apartment development. I was looking for a name that evoked the Tower of Babel – people building towers to reach an idea of heaven (but maybe creating a kind of hell – I’m an atheist by the way!) In any case I had written Babelsberg down and when I listened to the songs together, it finally made sense why I’d done that.”

Gruff’s Babelsberg is a ten-song gazetteer of our modern times. Each song is set to timeless, indelible melodies, and, amazingly for a record that lyrically pulls a very sharp focus on the times we’re living in, it was recorded in a feverish three-day session two and a bit years ago.

Orbit Sunday 2019

Recommended Artists