Leanne Laylor, aka Amenta, is a Toronto born singer and another graduate of the Red Bull academy who have garnered a well deserved reputation for skilling up emerging musicians. Amenta’s debut ep is a project that weaves neo soul styled vocals with mutant electronic hip hop beats wavering in a shimmering otherworldly atmosphere. It has a slight aspect of the ghost of trip hop, without the blunted darkened mindset but the hints of slight dystopias just around the corner. Sacred Spaces is a 5 track ep that enlists the talents of Om Unit, Lost Twin, Throwing Snow, Clinic and Kidkanevil which immediately sets up the ep as vocalist meets producer. The ep is a classy affair that is rounded off with the outstanding ‘Stormy Weather’ that highlights the talents of Kidkanevil, vocals counterbalanced by louche jazz piano, intermittent high frequencies and bass bomb flourishes, twitters of high frequencies and then a mirror show of vocals and effects makes the track a true wonder, simple and complex, sparse and making the best display of Amenta’s vocal talent.
To talk of the prior track last is an unfortunate setup. Om Unit’s production of ‘Maybe a dream’ takes up the solipsistic content and shrouds it in a slow hip hop instrumental feel with loops of spectral vocal chorus high in the mix. Lost Twin’s production of ‘Sticky’ begins with ominous electronic and moves into a scratchy wonky beat with off kilter modulations, flute interwoven, all to provide backing for the vocals of this strangely dystopic number. Throwing Snow’s production of ‘Eleutherios’ has a long tension building intro before launching into a fast paced bass driven vocal number with quite cool drum patterns and brooding synth. Clinic’s production of ‘Come around’ begins with a scratchy dense atmosphere bringing out a tamborine lead beat and cloudy synth landscape broken by a muted bright melody and the warm optimistic vocals of Amenta creating a dreamy positive track. Overall it is an exceptional debut ep by an artist who has brought together talents to match her own.