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THE LEAF LIBRARY

The Leaf Library

Library Music Volume One

    Library Music: Volume One is a sixteen track double LP collecting the North London drone pop band’s 7” singles, one-offs and compilation tracks spanning the first 14 years of the group’s existence. It includes synth pop, indie fuzz and moody motorik workouts, alongside pastoral folk sketches, dubby electronics and the occasional drone experiment. More immediate than their stretched out and slow-burning recent album tracks, the music here is taken from limited vinyl releases, album bonus tracks and music for compilations on labels as diverse as Bezirk Tapes, Second Language, Modern Aviation, and Concrete Tapes as well as the band’s current home, Where It’s At Is Where You Are.

    The compilation is a happily cohesive document of an inventive band that rarely stand still for long. The band says, “We wanted to gather all our early, scattered work before we move on to our next album, to remind ourselves (and others) of some of the poppier and less characteristic things we’ve done. We’ve always felt a lot more relaxed and freer making one off things for people – it’s a chance to try things that might otherwise be daunting on a full record”.

    Always a prolific group this is by no means an exhaustive collection, the title giving a clue to how much more they have left to share. “We have been introduced to loads of bands that we love initially through non-album compilations – Broadcast, The Chills, Stereolab, Piano Magic, Flying Saucer Attack amongst others – we wanted to add our own to that (admittedly slightly daunting) lineage.” The Leaf Library are formed around the core group of singer Kate Gibson, former Saloon and Singing Adams guitarist Matt Ashton, guitarist SJ Nelson, drummer Lewis Young and bass player Gareth Jones. They have released three studio albums (Daylight Versions, About Minerals and The World Is A Bell) as well a number of electronic and experimental albums and EPs, remix compilations and long form tracks. They have also released five Monument CDRs; an on-going series of experimental solo and side projects on their Objects Forever imprint. The band have collaborated with musicians as diverse as Alasdair MacLean of The Clientele, singer Ed Dowie, noise group Far Rainbow and string collective Iskra Strings, and have provided music for a number of exhibitions, films and performances. A collaborative album with Japanese artist Teruyuki Kurihara is due in late 2022 on the Mille Plateaux label. 

    TRACK LISTING

    01 Agnes In The Square
    02 Goodbye Four Walls
    03 City In Reverse
    04 Walking Backwards
    05 Soundings
    06 Diagram Loop
    07 The Greater Good
    08 Losing Places (ISAN Remix)
    09 A Stone In Water
    10 Architect Of The Moon
    11 Tired Ghost
    12 The Still Point
    13 Wave Of Translation
    14 Badminton House
    15 Tranquility Bass
    16 A Gap In The Trees 

    The Leaf Library

    The World Is A Bell

      The record is an ambitious and expansive update of their warm, hypnotic drone-pop encompassing gently pulsing electronics, chiming guitars, minimalist piano, acoustic and synthesised drones, noise, improv and intricate brass and string arrangements, all in the service of the band’s most assured and experimental songwriting yet. Two years in the making it features guest contributions from (amongst others) celebrated singer Ed Dowie, noise group Far Rainbow, fellow space-pop travellers Firestations and the string quartet Iskra Strings. It draws on all aspects of the band’s work so far, from indie guitar pop to ambient atmospherics, via surging rhythms and layered, melancholic vocals. This is the band’s second album (seventh if you count the various remix, side-project and short run CDR and tape releases they have put out over the last few years), and is the official follow up to 2015’s debut Daylight Versions (5* The Guardian). It begins with ‘In Doors And Out Through Windows’, a minimal piano and vibraphone incantation in 7/4, with shades of Dot and Loops-era Stereolab, their summery strum replaced here with twilit, unsettling repetition and melancholy brass swells.


      First single ‘Hissing Waves’ is the most pop the band have ever sounded, its skipping Insides-esque electronics and looping verses pulling the listener back to daylight and the disorienting “transparent spaces” of the city. ‘Patience’ (featuring guest vocals by Ed Dowie) is the closest the band come to the sound of ‘Daylight Versions’, cresting on waves of guitars and an insistent synth arpeggio. Elsewhere we find the title track’s pointillist strings (arranged by the band’s saxophonist Daniel Fordham), hypnotic vocal rituals on noise/improv detour ‘Bodies Carried Off By Bees’ (featuring Far Rainbow) and the Yo La Tengo-meet-Section 25 repetitions of ‘An Endless’, its bright guitar arpeggios and billowing synths unfurling across ten minutes of glorious repetition.

      Titled after a Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote (“The world is a bell that is cracked, it clatters but does not ring out clearly”) the album turns its attention away from the coastal obsessions of ‘Daylight Versions’ to more surreal and atmospheric contemplations. The album reaches its end with the fittingly grandiose ‘Paper Boats On Black Ink Lake’. The radio unfriendly (at nearly 20 minutes long) track drifts in on sleepwalk-slow guitars, recalling Earth at their most serene, while Kate Gibson and Melinda Bronstein’s vocals float over a bed of strings that could be Robert Kirby scoring Low’s Secret Name. The World Is A Bell is an album of dense and unhurried songs, rich in sonic detail and ambitious in scope, its music simultaneously intimate and epic. Guitarist and lyricist Matt says, “We wanted to create something that was completely its own thing, that was in no hurry to get anywhere and that contained large expanses for listeners to get lost in. 

      TRACK LISTING

      01 In Doors And Out Through Windows
      02 Hissing Waves
      03 Patience
      04 Larches Eat Moths
      05 The World Is A Bell
      06 Bright Seas
      07 Bodies Carried Off By Bees
      08 An Endless
      09 More Than Half Asleep
      10 Paper Boats On Black Ink Lake 


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