Lorenzo Montanà: Leema Hactus

One shouldn't overlook the little “File under: IDM / Plaid / Ambient” note accompanying the release info for Leema Hactus (issued in a 200-copy run), for said note actually says much about Lorenzo Montanà's follow-up to last year's well-received Eilatix. More precisely, it's the reference to Plaid that's the revealing detail in this case, as becomes evident mere seconds into the album when “Conflict Garden” rolls out a synth-laden beat construction that wouldn't sound out of place on either of Plaid's late-‘90s releases Not For Threes and Rest Proof Clockwork. Hand claps and an overall glistening ambiance add to the track's radiant gleam and high-spirited vibe (characteristics one also might encounter on a recording by Plaid duo Ed Handley and Andy Turner), and the later “Nordland EQ” and “Hypnogreen” only reaffirm the connection in their punchy beat patterns.

But one also shouldn't make too much of the detail either. Yes, Montanà's music does warrant the Plaid comparison, but Leema Hactus is hardly an act of note-for-note imitation. In fact, as suggested by a track such as “Deuterk,” it makes more sense to emphasize the IDM detail more than any other, as Leema Hactus appears to be very much a part of that tradition. Yet while he is a presumably proud member of that club, occasional deviations from the IDM template occur on the fifty-minute collection, and in such moments Montanà manages to successfully sidestep being dismissed as little more than a Warp clone or wannabe. “Dew Flow,” for example, sees Montanà updating his sound with a funkier beat conception, while “Greenlift” shows he's equally adept at fashioning an ambient setting of atmospheric sweep when so inclined. Having said that, Leema Hactus would have benefited from the inclusion of a greater number of such moments, which in turn would have resulted in a more varied presentation of Montanà's music.

February 2014