Black Sands is the alter-ego recording project of Andrew Balfour, Californian bred producer, creator, and collaborator, now based in Amsterdam. The power of collaboration is the soul of Black Sands; where creative voices join forces in a common vision and mission to create something larger than the sum of its parts. Contrasting musical perspectives are invited into an aural collision as Balfour channels his dark beats into synthesis with pop and R&B vocal collaborators. Black Sands is a modern music collaboration of creative osmosis, drawing out fresh but familiar ideas to produce power-house and anthemic tracks from the artists he works with.
Formerly a touring musician with a number of alternative rock bands, Balfour nurtured and developed his sonic palette from a young age. Taking inspiration from a wide selection of genres, he unites the music of his past with more contemporary influences of The Weeknd, Billie Eilish, and The 1975. The result is an international collective ricocheting off artists in Los Angeles, London, and Bogota to creatives in New York, Amsterdam, and Berlin, forming a refined and balanced harmonization of pop and R&B.
Black Sands’ EP Afterglow represents the alchemy of this perfect collision; developing from his darker experimental sounds into an upbeat expression of hope riding on modern synthy beats and soaring pop vocals. A collection of singles exploring the process of grief after the tragic, sudden death of his sister, Balfour confides, “Like many people who go through such a traumatic loss, I didn’t know how to process these complex emotions and talk about it. Music helped me focus that confusion and allowed me to grieve,” continuing, “Afterglow is about the moment you decide to take a step and find beauty in living and moving forward.”
“Frozen” touches on the loss of his sister and being stuck in a place of not being able to move on from the devastating pain. The song has an affecting melancholic undertone, bursting with passion and heartfelt melodies. Despite the difficult topic, “Frozen” has a tinge of upbeat, major sounds, pointing to his strong love and connection with his sister. “Frozen” is composed of dark-electro bass, heartbeat pulsing synths, ballad-esque harmonies laid over a bed of rich, pop piano and atmospheric R&B flushes.
The EP comes to a close with “Impossible.” Entering with a prowling, echoing guitar riff sat over sharp strings and electrifying vocal energy, the track has a haunting synth melody. Overall, Afterglow is a beautiful amalgamation of sounds and textures, oozing an irresistible, cinematic R&B edge, gritty bass-slapping motifs, and footnotes of pulsing electro synths.