Leo James is one of many super-talented artists to have emerged from Melbourne in the last few years, however his music stands somewhat alone from the more freewheeling sounds of his peers. There’s been a certain austerity to his work and, for me, a bravery to let instruments stand pretty much dry and largely untreated or effected. As such his music rewards the deeper listener and it is these strengths that Leo’s latest release on Patience plays to. Patience is “a new outlet for exploring longer and further beyond the break than usual… each release will be one artist’s deep dive down one LP-spanning or two side-long inspirational wormholes”.
So what we get here is two long form pieces – ‘Desert Nightflower’ and ‘Infinity’ each clocking in at a stately 20 plus minutes. The first is a beatless, ambient track. Where others would drench the minimal elements in delay and reverb, Leo leaves the instruments pure and alone, even allowing for total silent interludes. It’s an approach that takes a moment for your ears to adjust to but becomes refreshing and truly lets the haunting Clarinet of Tarquin Manek sing. This is evocative stuff for sure.
‘Infinity’ does have drums but still allows itself to unfold at unhurried page. Often the mood on these ‘chuggers’ can be oppressive and heavy but this barely seems tethered to the earth. The track progresses through three distinct movements holding the attention fully despite the lengthy run time. The play between the ECMish clarinet, digital synths and pulsating bassline is mesmerising.
‘Infinity’ is out June 10th on Patience