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Claremont 56’s latest beguiling two-tracker is as picturesque, sun-kissed and humid as they come. It may surprise some, though, to find that the artist behind these intoxicating tracks is not an experienced creator of wide-eyed Balearic fare, but rather a little-known but fast-rising producer from Moscow. Alterleo is the production alias of Denis Leonovich, a television sound producer who has spent his spare time making music for the best part of ten years.
He released a handful of dancefloor-focused EPs (mostly on local label National Techno) at the dawn of the decade, before retreating to the shadows to experiment further in order to develop his own trademark sound. Last year he resurfaced via a track on a two-part vinyl compilation It’s this exotic new direction – inspired, Denis says, by his desire to join the dots between psychedelic disco, Balearica and tribal rhythms – that’s showcased on the producer’s Claremont 56 debut, which also marks his first solo vinyl excursion. Both tracks are underpinned by gentle, undulating tribal rhythms, and include sounds and melodies crafted by the producer on kalimba, vargan and some of the small native instruments that form part of his growing collection of such items.
A-side “Sunset Sparks” is a thing of rare beauty: a dreamy, humid and tropical excursion in which fluttering flute melodies and delay-laden African vocals gently rise above slowly-shifting chords, psychedelic electronics and a synth bassline so squeezable that you could use it as a stress ball. Denis’s love of bold synth basslines is also evident on flipside cut “Boma”, a slightly bolder and more polyrhythmic excursion whose sparkling melodies, fuzzy guitar motifs, Jew’s Harp lines and foreboding aural textures create a quietly trippy mood. Some may note the influence of Jan Schulte’s Wolf Mueller project, but Denis has crafted a mesmerizing signature sound all of his own.