Thursday, September 28, 2006

OCHRE: Lemodie (Benbecula Records)

OCHRE
Lemodie
BEN034CD
Benbecula Records 2006
10 Tracks. 57mins15secs




Buy it: CD
Ochre | Benbecula Records

Chris Leary first got noticed with his debut EP, Sound System Bangers Vol. 1, in 2003, yet he had spent the previous few years freely distributing his music on the Internet and on CDrs. This led him to work on a series of remixes for artists such as Rusuden or Melodium, while his own tracks regularly got picked up to be featured on various compilations. His debut album, A Midsummer Nice Dream, published two years ago on London-based Toytronic, collected tracks created over a long period of time, but this sophomore effort is the fruit of a much more focused gestative process.

With Lemodie, Leary creates a voluptuous soundtrack which goes well beyond the boundaries set with A Midsummer Nice Dream. While the scope remains very much set into electronic territories, classical orchestrations resonate all throughout as melodic themes are adorned with delicate silky string motifs, at times taking the form of a string quartet, at others given full orchestral treatment.

Elsewhere, Leary brings complex rhythmic formations to life with rich analogue tones and soft washes, piecing together sumptuous cinematic soundscapes from disparate elements to create a series of truly evocative compositions. While he still cultivates the melancholic aspect of his music, conveyed through sweeping melodies and elegant electronic arrangements, Lemodie is more upfront than its predecessor. The rhythmic fabric has gained in complexity and relief, arrangements appear more structured and in focus, reflecting on the overall narrative of the record and its consistency. Leary deploys here an impressive array of sounds and moods and applies grain and textures with great expertise.

Answering the soft hues and shapes of the cover, the compositions go from crisp digital landscapes (111, Infotain Me, Anomie) to atmospheric lustre (Open Top) and vast evocative moments (Sosacharo, Lifewish). If influences are perceptible, Leary puts them to good use and takes great care in blending them into the background so as not to overshadow his own inputs. With this second offering, Leary shows here increased confidence and focus and quietly makes his place amongst the artists to watch.

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