Levon Vincent – Levon Vincent (Novel Sound, 2015)
After a quiet 2014 on the production front, Levon Vincent returned earlier this month, releasing his self-titled debut LP on Novel Sound in novel style. He posted a link on Facebook to a free digital download of his entire album. This is before a physical copy had been made available, but he also had something pretty special in store for fans of vinyl: each and every disc would be unique, the labels having been up-cycled from ‘old Japanese magazines, vintage Sotheby’s art house catalogs, and other fashionable prints’.
Vincent’s musical style is aggressive in the best sense of the word. He’s confident, skilled, progressive. The track-list reflects his back catalogue, which seems to drive relentlessly towards a new electronic music. You get the sense he is fighting – an idea reinforced by the statement attached to the download link: ‘This is music for the ugly ducklings of the world. Music for swans. If you are you’re a member of the rat race, climbing around a dumpster with the other rats vying for power, you may of course listen, but know – this is not music for you. This is action against you.’ It’s a statement, the whole package: from the promotion to the distribution to the music itself.
The record begins with the aptly titled ‘The Beginning’. A melody that’s Kraftwerkian in its rigid groove is soon joined by pads which seem to enter and exit at will. On a good sound system the opening track would be welcome in any DJ’s set as, well, an opening track. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, which swings from the jazzy to the industrial, often combining the two. All the while, Vincent maintains a vibe of business and purpose. Instead of idle lulls there are prolonged periods of relative quiet evoking contemplation – often triggered by an ever-evolving line of melody. The best example of this is probably ‘Launch Ramp to tha Sky’, where two-thirds into the song, one sound after another melt into each other, the melodies following.
The melodies, however, would be insignificant if not for the rhythm that drives the record. Dirty, distorted drums and an unrelenting low-end give those melodies something to sing over – a strong, simple, no-nonsense foundation that reminds us that although Vincent’s approach is progressive, he is well in tune with what moves crowds.
Debut albums are a defining moment in every musician’s career and it is a shame that in the realm of house and techno, well-rounded albums come along all too rarely. But Levon Vincent’s first outing in the LP arena is a resounding success. It is a versatile arrangement of excellent productions, with a broader – and most importantly, well considered – intention to affect the industry.
Again, here’s the download link for those who want to listen: Download
Image from press kit downloaded from uzurirecordings.com/artists/levon-vincent/