Available as 2x12” LP with screen print sleeve and insert, or CD. Every time I listen through the clips I expect David Byrne to start singing on a couple of the tracks. Leonard Campbell’s lush narrative-following electronica with some very slick 80’s grooves placed in jumps back and forth between thoughtful and danceable.
9/10 Laurie Staff review, 18 June 2015
Cosmic imagery and delicious electronica warmly embrace on this little big release from Leonard Campbell via Firecracker. Originally released on tape in the Spring of last year thanks to 1080p, Much Less Normal uses beats to prop up vivid technicolour landscapes brimming with melody.
Shimmering Moods records missed a trick or two here. So many shimmering moods, but not too many are overstated. There’s sometimes a tendency with gentle electronica to just be too prettified - what begins as nice layering becomes a tiresome onslaught of tinkly this and that. Sometimes, minimalism achieves much more than high detail, and that’s where Much Less Normal shines, staying in that subdued state for as long as needed to let the moments of outburst really count. Take the dancier ‘If Sylvia Built a House’ for instance, which centres around a sort of electro beat smothered in muffled overdrive and some lazy synth lines for the most part, occasionally boiling over into kaleidoscopic intensity.
It’s like Boards of Canada and their arsenal of detuned analog gear jamming with Vakula or Luke Abbott or something, getting dancey at times but mostly hanging about on the periphery, the event horizon. That analogy sort of works; dance music is a bit of a black hole. There’s plenty of light to be found here though, with a lot of synths sounding like they were made with the words SHINY and SPACE smeared all over. Actually things have got a lot more funky on the C side, so maybe disregard half of this and just listen to the lot.
9/10 R Bramich Customer review, 24th June 2015
Is there such a thing as perfection?
Maybe but there is such a thing as seduction and I was seduced by the art work and the endless snippets of reviews on every form of social media known to man, there's at least two aren't there? I've even seen a photo tweeted of it on a Bridge somewhere in Scotland (?) so I was hard pushed to not invest, so up I stumped the required wedge for the vinyl. And It is SO nice but would the cd edition have done?
Well the music... Being an ageing Badger who grew up buying lo-fi electronica from labels like Rephlex I'm really rather fond of Much Less Normal. There's an evocation of the quirky but playful side to that label here and nods to Detroit and Chicago shine through in the later tracks as well. There were a couple of housey tunes on the original tape release not featured here but that loss is made up by the appearance of a new tune Kendal in Kalusia which finishes off the album and is a damn majestic number to close on.
Is it as cosmic as the art work suggests? Gently cosmic I'd say, I'll certainly be enjoying Lnrdcroy from a raised horizontal position i.e. the comfort of a hammock, shame I'll have get up to turn the records over. So maybe the cd edition would have sufficed, hell I think I'll buy that as well.
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