Archives for posts with tag: The Leaf Library

The Leaf Library 2019UK ensemble The Leaf Library are about to release a new album, “The World Is A Bell”, another (giant) step in their on-going journey to perfect their unique style of folk-ambient melodic drone-pop. Here’s the radio edit of the first single from the album, “Hissing Waves”:

The Leaf Library style is built on hypnotic repetitive intertwining of rhythms, electric and acoustic instruments, textures and tones, and voices. It’s still more ambient/ experimental electronic folk pop than psychedelic rock or electronica, however this new album leads The Leaf Library into new even more experimental territory.

“The World Is A Bell” is an engaging and immersive meditation in accessible exploratory minimalist melodic drone-based music.  The double-helix spiral strands of music and voice twist and loop around on themselves, each track providing distinctive sonic DNA flowing between two elements.

At one extreme is the beautiful minimalist assembling of acoustic woodwind instruments and complex poly-rhythmic percussion into mathematical patterns, reminiscent at times of some of the quieter side of early Tortoise. At the other end of The Leaf Library’s drone spectrum the textures are more industrial, like a fleet of giant intergalactic hovercraft lawnmowers arriving on Earth from another planet, providing an unexpected Stars of The Lid level sonic experience of layered and soothing metal machine music.

“Hissing Waves”, with it’s twin-voiced lyrical meditation on “an endless looping cycle” of space and time, sits somewhere in the middle between the organic pastoral mood at one extreme and the mechanical hum at the other.  It serves as a perfect introduction to this enigmatic and individual album.

“The World Is A Bell” is released on WIAIWYA on 25 October 2019.

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The Leaf Library at St Pancras Old Church, London, 2016

The Leaf Library are the World Champions of drone-pop. The successful combination of somnambulist drone music and melodic pop music may seem an unlikely pairing but take a trip through “City in Reverse” and hear for yourself:

The gentle propulsion of the bass notes here is backed by a aural haze of tones. Within these you catch what almost sounds like the rise and fall of church bells wafting across parkland from afar on a warm summer breeze.

It’s the simplicity and minimalism here, repetition drenched in atmospheric tonal complexity, along with the rhythmic push and pull, the calm observant paired vocals, layered harmonies and the melody all working together that makes The Leaf Library masters of the understated elegance of drone-pop.

It’s from a new 7″ single out this week called “City in Reverse”/ Kendick Road”.  In addition to the two songs on the 7″, the download version comes with 4 extra tracks – re-mixes of songs off their earlier masterpiece album “Daylight Versions”. Although “re-mixes” is an inadequate way to describe the way these songs are pulled inside-out, stretched and teased into all sorts of weird and wonderful new shapes and inventive directions.

The music of The Leaf Library is forever associated with an unusually searing hot couple of days in London in mid-September last year during when I saw the band plus small woodwind orchestra play Daylight Versions live at Old St Pancras Church in London. Their music soundtracks memories of that week, particularly Kew Gardens with its intriguing art + drone installation The Hive and the endless hum and drone of a city of almost 9 millions people (and their machines).


The Hive – Kew Gardens 

Leaf Library
“Rings of Saturn” is one of two preview songs available to stream ahead of the upcoming release of the debut album from UK band The Leaf Library.

The album from which “Rings of Saturn” is taken from is glorious. Every so often albums come along which just cast a spell of magic so powerful you can’t escape them. “Daylight Versions” is one of these.

The Leaf Library say – with a hint of self-deprecation – they make “droney, two-chord pop that’s stuck halfway between the garage and the bedroom, all topped with lyrical love songs to buildings, stationery and the weather.” In fact this subdued and reflective music unfurls itself just perfectly and without much fuss. At times it is almost impossibly and unbearably perfect.

If you need touchstones for reference then the quieter sonic lullabies on Yo La Tengo albums is a good starting point. But it is also a bit like experiencing The Clientele’s ghostly pastoral elegies warped through the drone melodies of Stereolab. There’s a strong sense of place and season even if it seems filtered through the haze of half-sleep. Kate Gibson’s low-key vocals are all part of the welcome here too, their soft, compelling tones and uncomplicated delivery reminiscent at times of Broadcast’s Trish Keenan.

Beyond the hypnotic repetitive caress of the songs, The Leaf Library introduce textures varying from gently pulsing electronica, washes of ambient noise, piano, horns, strings. It’s more ambient/ experimental electronic folk pop than psychedelic rock and the difficulty categorising it is all part of the mystery and magic here. One of my albums of the year already.

“Daylight Versions” is released on UK label WIAIWYA on 30 October and can be pre-ordered from the label here.