Leafcutter John – Resurrection (Desire Path Recordings)


Resurrection is UK media artist, composer, instrument builder, software creator and who knows what else Leafcutter John’s first solo album since 2006’s The Forest and the Sea. Where its predecessor impressed with a near pastoral experimental folk element, Resurrection is swimming with disembodied electrics, a myriad of disparate ingredients, from the mechanical to the human voice, from real instruments to field recordings, from bells to guitar, all wrapped up together in a conjoined textural soup of sound sources.

John, works with density, often dropping everything away for moments of quite contemplation, or building dense melodic cacophonies. His sounds are manipulated, filtered and affected, in fact the final piece ‘Gulps’ is simply hesitant brass around which semi orchestral sound design and heavy reverb just slowly wraps itself around the original source and builds. It’s gorgeous, highly immersive somewhat contemplative work, vaguely reminiscent of Gavin Bryars’ ‘The Sinking of the Titanic.’

What’s incredible about John’s work is his desire to move into what you could almost call non narrative musical structures. Put simply, you never know where it’s going to go next, nor is it put together like any other music. Yet somehow it all makes some kind of innate sense. And that’s possibly because he’s using all of these highly resonant sound sources, and there’s a confidence in his approach – but also a warmth. Sure like all good sound design it plugs into the emotions, but rarely has music been so uncompromisingly experimental and so uncompromisingly beautiful. Make no mistake this is a profound work of art. No wonder it took 9 years.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.