Lead: s/t LP (Radical Documents, 2017)

March 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Lead: s/t LP

Minimal name, minimal artwork, and two sidelong, untitled tracks. This album isn’t overwhelming, and it was created with just a few small instruments in an office building, but even though it sounds sparse and airy, the duo get locked into some entrancing patterns and it catches your attention. The first part of side A sounds like a musical recreation of water dripping into a pail as well as a faintly but deeply hissing radiator. Then the second part has minimalist keyboards which seem to get out of sync. Trying to follow where it’s going ends up tricking your mind a bit, even though it doesn’t seem like all that much is happening, and it’s so quiet you have to turn it up and really concentrate. After a period of puttering drum machines, dubbed-out connection noises, and rhythmic scraping, Amy Howden-Chapman’s vocals, alternating between higher fluttering and lower, lonelier reflections, float over a limited but expressive array of synth beams. The side ends with a percussive bit which oddly sounds like an electronic horseback ride. While the first side seems like a suite of several short tracks, the second side is one continuous piece. It begins with slowly dripping keyboard tones and gentle waves, and there’s some low humming which nevertheless seems to cut through the sounds a little bit. A light, metallic clicking develops, and eventually the vocals go into a higher register. For some reason, this is categorized as noise on Discogs, but it’s almost the inverse of a noise record. It seems simple and basic, maybe even “lowercase”, and it captures the essence of a small, intimate space rather than loudly projecting outwards in attempt to repel or express disgust or anger.

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