Closed System Potentials by K. Leimer

K. Leimer digs into his own archives for this reissue on his own Palace of Lights label. The questing synth sounds on Closed System Potentials were recorded in 1979, and are presented here in remastered and expanded form: a few tracks are previously unreleased. Plus an insert with an essay squeezed in alongside the LP.

Vinyl LP £18.99 POL03

Remastered + expanded reissue LP on Palace of Lights.

  • Includes download code
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Closed System Potentials by K. Leimer
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8/10 Robin 25 July 2016

Longtime synth experimentalist K. Leimer goes all archive on himself here, repressing his electronic hammock record ‘Closed System Potentials’. Recorded way back in ‘79, this record of generously lilting chords and uplifting figures would sound vintage as hell, if it didn’t sound like what many a new-age leaning ambient musician had predicated their career on. Melodies fall into place atop the shining synths you’d hear on any Constellation Tatsu release, sounding as if they’re trying to replicate the sound of a plucked guitar.

K. Leimer was not content to make music that just sat there; his arm was twisted by the potential for narrative in electronic music, and ‘Closed System Potentials’ makes true on its name, taking what sounds like stasis and opening melodic -- often cinematic -- throughlines. “Derivative” has the kind of slowly unwinding piano movements you might find in a John Carpenter film, if he’d been moved by his heart instead of the funny bone. As a result, the more droning pieces feel like interludes, waiting music both anticipating and building tension -- the volume of “The Random In Nature” increases drastically over its seven minutes of ambient swarm.

A fine but perhaps overdramatic pianist, K. Leimer’s music is rarely subtle. He pounds on his piano with more intent than Nils Frahm, strums with great effect and focuses on the peaks in his synth swells (like Stars of the Lid at a constant capacity). That said, it’s hard not to get lost in this record, which seems to exist between being influenced by and influencing a roster of new age masters. It’s a gorgeous record that defines itself around an empty space and how loudly you can put music into it.


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