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There’s the easy way to make ambient techno: send some harmonic haze scudding across a 4/4 kick, and call it a day. And then there’s the hard way: forgo metronomic mile-markers and find ways to allude to dance music through pattern, texture, motion, and overriding shape. As Huerco S., Brian Leeds does it the hard way, and in a genre that trends opaque, his music is very clear—you can see straight to the bottom. On his superb release For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), the Kansas City producer treats techno like tissue paper and ambient music like a glass of clean water, dropping one into the other and watching raptly as it dissolves into drifting pulp.
We hear distantly percolating arpeggios and quietly bustling basses but nary a drum. Still, the invisible force of one seems to ripple out through the music, in which filtered bundles of harmonium and thumb piano tones limp toward steady repetition without ever quite falling into stride. It’s also representative of a contemporary era when club music leaks out of big cities through internet portals. It’s as if Leeds imagined he could almost hear the keenest edges of the signals booming from the coasts, echoing into the Midwest through all that empty space. For Those of You gives that feeling form. –Brian Howe User Comments