Posted by: Jimmy For Reals on May 11, 2014
It’s pretty rare these days, amidst the incessant flood of music that assails you daily, to be absolutely captivated by an artist from the very moment you hear them. That said I must be a bit late on the uptake with Low Leaf, because it seems like she’s been doing the same to everyone from Flying Lotus to LV for quite some time now, despite self-releasing all of her music to date with minimal fanfare or hype AKASHAALAY represents her first album as a label signee and is so well rounded that it seems pretty safe to assume that this will raise her public profile immeasurably, although if her website is anything to go by she probably couldn’t care less about the recognition. To top it off her live show sounds absolutely unreal, bringing together the best elements of Pacific drift folksiness with the savvy beatmaking prowess of the LA scene in a whirlwind combination of Harp, Keys, Guitar and live electronic production.
AKASHAALAY signifies a new level in the sophistication for Low Leaf’s sound, particularly in light of the newfound balance between organic instrumentation and the electronic augmentation her beat making. It settles into a comfortable groove somewhere between the avant-garde wooziness of unEARTHly and the ever so slightly mawkish song craft of Alchemizing Dawn. This shouldn’t detract from either of the former, which are great records in their own right, but with AKASHAALAY she’s managed to generate something of a broader pop-wise appeal without watering down any of the heartfelt spirituality or the DIY improvisation that made her songs so appealing in the first place. It’s earnest yet mischievous music, revelling in well-worn archetypes of song writing while simultaneously tearing the rulebook to shreds.
There’s obvious comparisons to Hiatus Kaiyote that can and probably will be made, particularly on the subject of cosmic soul tracks like Set Me Free and Kami Ang Mga Tao, but whilst the two certainly share some common ground, Low Leaf’s songs carry the sense of a freewheeling renegade virtuoso at play rather than a tight knit jam unit getting deep into their zone. That said for the most part it’s a different story altogether, with infectiously upbeat crowd-pleasers like the conscientious-call-to-arms of Rise Up, delicate heartfelt ballads like Life is Peace and the full on psychedelic freakouts of Ascension and 2b1wd Eternal. However, for me, Low Leaf is most appealing when fully indulging her eccentricities, ably demonstrated by the sweetly malfunctioning piano pop of As One and the bizarrely entertaining Bahay Kubo, which sounds like an unlikely ensemble of Lapalux and Cocorosie trapped in a whimsical, computerised gestalt of The Philippines circa 1960.
Low Leaf Australia & New Zealand upcoming tour dates:
May 28th Supporting Hiatus Kaiyote @ Howler, Melbourne
May 29th @ Boney, Melbourne supported by DTR, Noah slee & Zeroh.
May 30th The Cave @ The Kelvin Club, Melbourne Jazz Festival
May 31st @ Depo, Brisbane. Double Show with Nai Palm supported by DTR & Noah Slee
June 1st @ Sunshine Coast, venue TBC
June 5th @ Album Release Party at Conch Records, Auckland
June 6th @ Matterhorn, Wellington > Wellington Jazz Festival, supported by Noah Slee & Zeroh.
June 7th Hosted by Cosmic Compositions, Auckland
Some Reviews with Jimmy For Reals is exclusive to The Operatives.
© THE OPERATIVES 2014 SITE BY NEWGEN STUDIO