[PRE-ORDER] Leifur James - The Year Turns To AirCatalogue No. ALN63EP Released. 24/11/2021
4. New Moon
British experimentalist Leifur James preps new EP The Year Turns To Air.
Fresh off the back of a fruitful few years that saw the release of the artist’s much lauded debut album, notable live performances and audio-visual collaborations, the London based composer returns with a brace of new recordings. James builds on the success of his breakout with a dense and emotive new offering wrought with organic sound design and accomplished instrumentation.
Born in part as a response to challenges that continue to be felt worldwide, the backdrop for the music is the Neolithic stone circle at Avebury in the UK near to the home of the artist’s father and where James spent much of the past year. Returning to a simpler existence, closer to nature and landscapes infused with such prehistoric lineage provided valuable insight during the composition process. The combination of acute isolation and remedy worked to draw a new energy upwards and into the light that transferred itself almost by osmosis into the music. The transformation is best described by the artist themself, recalling a new moon rising, gleaming on the horizon during a period of particular intensity in February 2021, “like a tide was turning for us all.”
Opener Sirens introduces the EP with cinematic verve before building patiently, propelled by an undulating piano riff. Buoyed by the gentle hiss and crackle of audio noise and complete with softly engineered field recordings, the track waxes and wanes in James’ characteristic style before opening up into a rousing and energetic piece of left-field techno music. Ethereal follow up Marianna eschews the kick drums in favour of soft modular bells that drive the work throughout its runtime. If Sirens hinted at James’ ability to draw intensity out of the restrained and economic use of instrumentation, Marianna certainly proves the point: as a single, swirling synth lead gives the track it's almost trance-like energy. On Locked James returns to drum programming–hi-hats shuffle while bells reignite to deliver a simple but hypnotic hook; piano riffs drop in and out alongside rising synth components and washed out vox to create an immersive experience made powerful by the artist’s admirable production techniques. New Moon bears all the hallmarks of an artist whose primary concerns include density, texture and moving songwriting. Opening simply enough, a processed piano riff introduces the piece while soft live drums draw and pull to create space for playful guitar and synth parts that drive the work onwards, simultaneously creating moving gestures across the sonic landscape. A mesh of glistening sonics executed with considerable assurance, the ebb and flow of the track makes for an invigorating outro to the EP, fading to silence in its final seconds to close the door–even if just momentarily, on the next exciting chapter in the artist’s development.
Released November 24th, The Year Turns To Air is supported by a new Leifur James European tour beginning in October this year, including stops at AB in Brussels, London’s Village Underground and Melkweg, Amsterdam.