Clem Leek: A Letter

In the limited physical edition of the release, the three-inch disc is enclosed within an appropriately distressed envelope that's been individually aged using tea as a dye and is itself bound in string—as if the letter had been stored in an attic box and exhumed decades later. The letter's contents? A single-track, nineteen-minute live recording that not surprisingly acts as a natural complement to Leek's 2010 debut album Holly Lane. Assembled using Ableton Live and with processed guitar, violin, voice, and field recordings as source elements, the piece unfolds as a mellifluous and steady ambient-drone hum against a grainy backdrop that suggests the rainswept outdoors. Though the instruments' individuating characters are largely downplayed, organ-like tones and breathy voices can be heard drifting o'ertop the willowy material's ebb-and-flow, and one finds oneself gradually being drawn into Leek's gentle vortex, especially when the whole swells into an elegiac hymnal mass during its final third. It's no surprise that the eighty physical copies are gone, but a digital version of the release is available. No dreamscaper should be without one.

April 2011