Posts Tagged ‘The Leaf Library’

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In recent times London drone-pop heroes, The Leaf Library, have been busy doing all the things bands aren’t really meant to be able to do anymore. Following the 2015 release of their acclaimed debut album, Daylight Versions, they set out on a series of commercially unlikely projects, including a drone companion piece, Nightlight Versions, a remix album, Versions, and a single track 77 minute album for WIAIWYA’s 21st birthday.

After a year of remixes, drones and instrumental releases The Leaf Library return to their unhurried, melancholy best with City In Reverse / Kendrick Road Its a double A side 7” single / six track digital EP.

City In Reverse is a softly propulsive ode to abstract city encounters, with gently soaring drones, ebowed guitars, and backing vocals from The Left Outsides’ Mark Nicholas.

Kendrick Road is a gorgeous chamber pop shuffle, with lilting strings (by The Left Outsides’ Alison Cotton and Hurtling’s Jon Clayton), and heavy-hearted piano weaving their way through spare, persistent percussion.

The vinyl only has the first two tracks from the EP on it, however every 7″ comes with a full download of all six tracks. The additional tracks include three remixes of songs from Daylight Versions by All Golden (Pete Gofton), Wintergreen (bass player Gareth Jones’s other outfit), and house producer Colors In Waves (John Shearer), plus a Colors In Waves re-edit.

releases October 27th, 2017
The Band
Matt Ashton – guitar, bass, percussion
Kate Gibson – vocals, piano
Gareth Jones – bass, percussion
Simon Nelson – acoustic and electric guitar, Casiotone
Lewis Young – drums, percussion, OP1

The first taster of their upcoming second album, City In Reverse/Kendrick Road is the band’s new double A-side single, and it’s due out next month on  Wiaiwya Records.

City In Reverse, described by the band as, “an ode to abstract city encounters”is in many ways classic Leaf Library drone-pop. Building from a prominent rumble of bass, the tracks shifts into warm synth-drones, e-bowed guitars and entwined vocals; the male voice provided by The Left Outsides’ Mark Nicholas. The track floats by in five minutes of perfectly paced and beautifully instrumented, hazy melancholy: a perfect soundtrack for the closing in Autumn evenings.

Kendrick Road is an altogether more wistful piece, a song about losing people, and equally the places they used to inhabit. Musically, it’s something of a departure for the band, a shuffling piece of chamber-pop, it’s less dense and droning than we’re used to. Kate Gibson’s crisp vocals are to the fore, accompanied by prominent hand-clap beats, rolling flourishes of toms and waves of melodious strings.

A hugely welcome return, these tracks suggest The Leaf Library remain masters of unrushed melancholy; if it’s all going to sound this good then roll on 2018, it could just be The Leaf Library’s year.

The Leaf Library – Versions , When a band releases 3 versions of the same album, I usually let out a big sigh. We see it far too often: Remastered, reissued, special edition, live version, demo version, 20 year anniversary edition etc…
The Leaf Library is one of the few bands that can make 3 versions of one album, and still make it really interesting and highly creative. The three versions, “Daylight versions” (the original, full band album, – a wonderful release), “Nightlight versions” (an instrumental, droney, ambient version of the original) and now “Versions”, where we find 9 remixes of the songs on the album. Each one adds a new flavour to the original songs, and they are all very good.

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On “Versions” we are presented with great remixes from artists like Cavern of Anti-Matter, Firestations, Deerful, Hong Kong in the 60s/A Taut Line,  Bit Cloudy, Hood and more. This is something rare, – a remix album with lots of different remixers, that still sounds like a consistent album where all songs have a similar feel and atmosphere.
A very pleasant and interesting listen.

Daylight Versions is a gorgeous album of woozy, drone-pop tunes about meteorology, the seasons and the incoming sea.
From songs about the ghostly Suffolk coastline to the slowly rising waters of London marshes, these ten tracks channel the warm fuzz of Yo La Tengo, the spacious repetition of Talk Talk and Movietone’s seaside melancholy to beautiful effect.

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Matt Ashton – guitar, percussion, sonar piano, synth
Kate Gibson – vocals, synth, piano
Gareth Jones – bass, baritone guitar, percussion
Ben Smith – guitar, synth
Lewis Young – drums, synth, percussion

The Leaf Library make droney, two-chord pop that’s in love with weather, the seasons and buildings.

Daylight Versions is the debut full-length album from London quintet The Leaf Library, released on 30th October via WIAIWYA. The record is full of wonderfully woozy, drone-pop tunes about meteorology, the seasons and the incoming sea; from songs about the ghostly Suffolk coastline to the slowly rising waters of London marshes, these ten tracks channel the warm fuzz of Yo La Tengo, the spacious repetition of Talk Talk and Movietone’s seaside melancholy to beautiful effect.

The song is inspired by the disappearing coastline of Suffolk, with lyrics that evoke the lunar landscape of Orford Ness (an old radar testing site that is home to a forest of radio masts and the mysterious ‘Black Beacon’) and guitar drones that could come straight from the nearby Sizewell B nuclear reactor. Filmed a little way up the coast from Orford on Dunwich beach, the beautiful time lapse video dips in and out of the North Sea, under the waves and over the sunken town and collapsed cliffs. The swelling horns and massed chiming guitar arpeggios all build together to summon the expanse of an enigmatic, twilight coast.

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Much of Daylight Versions was recorded at Studio Klank in North London with Simon Nelson (Cosines). Musically, Daylight Versions is a shift away from the Stereolab and Electrelane influenced buzz and drone of the previous couple of singles. The album generally has a more contemplative, nocturnal feel, with songs that gradually unfurl over a greater length of time. There are more horns, strings and piano, plus lots more synths and drones.

Lyrically the album shifts the focus away from the cities and buildings of their early work and towards the outdoors, the coast, the weather and the sea, with recurring themes of water and flooding as well as the seasons. Inspired by the countryside of The Lake District and coastal Suffolk, The Leaf Library also looked towards English pastoral literature, such as Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald and The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane, as well as sharing themes of place and home with PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.

The Leaf Library

The Leaf Library consists of guitarist and songwriter Matt Ashton (previously of John Peel favourites Saloon), Kate Gibson on vocals, bassist Gareth Jones (from Wintergreen), guitarist Ben Smith and Lewis Young on drums. The band brought in a host of guests to help fulfill their musical vision including Steven James Adams, Rob Smoughton from Hot Chip, Alison Cotton and Mark Nicholas from The Left Outsides, Daniel Fordham and David Stewart from The Drink, as well as Alasdair Maclean from The Clientele and Amor de Dias.

The Leaf Library have produced an album full of uneasy beauty. Graceful yet grandiose, Daylight Versions captures the feeling of living amongst England’s eccentric weather, of being on a small island floating in the North Sea, as it slowly disappears beneath the waves.

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The title Daylight Versions makes me wonder what the nighttime versions might sound like. In any case, this is music that delivers textures that make you think of light and its fading, of seasons changing—and the feelings that go with those things. They do that through music that bridges the gap between groove-based Stereolab jams and intimate bedroom pop, someone whispering their thoughts in your ear in a pretty voice. And there’s an aura of filmic mood music in there as well. They sing about nature as well, and stars and the human heart, while the music twinkles and glows behind singer Kate Gibson’s lovely voice. This is the debut full-length from the London-based group the Leaf Library, after various releases scattered across seven or so years, and it’s an absolute wonder.

Members: Matt Ashton Kate Gibson Gareth Jones Ben Smith Lewis Young the band are based in London