The solo project of California native Camella Lobo, Tropic of Cancer debuted in 2009 with ‘The Dull Age’/’Victims’, a 10″ single on Downwards and the first of three collaborations with Juan Mendez (Silent Servant); the influence of this record on Blackest Ever Black, which was founded the following year, cannot be overstated. Two years later came a second Downwards release (‘Be Brave’, remixed by Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk), followed soon after by a first offering for BEB, The Sorrow Of Two Blooms – a three-track EP which remains one of the most cherished entries in our catalogue.
The next two years saw 12″ releases on Mannequin, Sleeperhold Publications and Ghostly International (a Part Times Punks Sessions live split with HTRK) and a limited edition compilation, The End Of All Things, gathering together singles and unreleased recordings from the Downwards era, before Tropic of Cancer returned to Blackest to release its debut album proper, Restless Idylls, heralded by a 7″-only single, ‘More Alone’. Written and performed by Lobo in LA, with production from Karl O’Connor (Regis) in New York and London, Restless Idylls is her richest work to date: taking in expansive, extravagantly despondent synth vistas (‘Children Of A Lesser God’, ‘Plant Lilies At My Head’); dubwise love songs of uncommon intimacy (‘More Alone’, ‘Court Of Devotion’); and exhilarating motorik ghost riders (‘Hardest Day’, ‘Rites Of The Wild’). A sensual and sepulchral psychedelia unlike anything we’ve heard before.
Tropic of Cancer returned to Blackest Ever Black in Autumn 2015 with its first new material since Restless Idylls: a three-track EP entitled Stop Suffering, featuring additional production and mixing from Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv, Sons of Magdalene). A song from that EP, ‘I Woke Up And The Storm Was Over’, also featured on BEB’s USA-only vinyl compilation I Can’t Give You The Life You Want, while a simultaneously released 12″, Archive: The Downwards Singles, compiled the three original tracks from Tropic of Cancer’s highly sought-after early 10″ releases. The live incarnation of the band – Lobo joined by Eustis on electronics and Dva Damas’s Taylor Burch on guitar – embarked on a European tour in support of these new releases, culminating in a headline appearance at Blackest Ever Black’s fifth anniversary showcase at Berghain, Berlin.