This new album from Leaaves feels eccentric at first. Its multifaceted title aside, these 11 songs seem to offer up one curious moment after another.
Stick with it though. By the time you’ve made it through the cassette three or four times, its quirks will have begun to make sense. As is often the case with successful recordings, the things that struck you as most odd in the beginning will become what you love most about the album.
Leaaves is a Manhattan-based solo artist by the name of Nate Wagner. He recorded the album over two days in January, in Helsinki and Reykjavik.
“This tape follows the trajectory of the brief and brilliant Finnish winter day – the early morning listlessness of pre-dawn darkness, the slow onset of daylight, the sunset’s endless half-life, the return to blackout – through a series of experiments in sampling and signal processing,” writes Wagner in the album’s promotional material. “The result is a travelogue of stasis, where bursts of melody intervene in all-encompassing texture, where moments of colour briefly overwhelm the tranquil familiarity of cold.”
Certainly, there is plenty in Wagner’s electronics that bring frigid northern European nights to mind. There’s more to it though (to my ears at least).
Anyone who’s lived through a long, cold winter understands that an inability to stay outside demands you occupy yourself indoors. Your mental health begins to depend on your creativity.
Which is exactly what we hear throughout these 38 minutes. Wagner presents us one beautiful little idea after another, weaved together like a big warm blanket. The cold is there, but it’s outside.