I’m on Twitter one Saturday morning, when a friend offers me a recommendation to listen to an artist she’s into. I’m always welcome to suggestions, and I’m always on the lookout to hear something new. so I give it a shot. I’m not sure about you, but one of the first things I like to do is go directly to the credits. This artist played all of the instruments and vocals, and even recorded it. I’m a huge fan of “self-contained” artists, being a fan of people like Prince, Paul McCartney, and Todd Rundgren made me want to try it myself in my own way, so it’s what I look for too. I then pressed play
The artist goes by the name of Low Leaf, and the genre tags were interesting too, but the actual music is the real factor. The opening track, “Monday Thief”, sounds like someone assembling the sounds that are about to be heard, like an orchestral warm-up. It leads to the first full “proper song”, “Pure. Love”, and she plays the harp rhythmically in a funky way. In my mind I’m hearing beats to layer over it, but then the beats come in, as if my vision bloomed into reality. Vocal layers come in, the keyboards melt into, and it just sounds incredible. It’s not just a random collage of sounds, there’s some thought of structure and arrangement that I really liked. It could be new age, it could be meditative, it could be smooth, it’s distinctively Asian, it’s classical, but it’s so much more. It’s a song created with thought, and one that requires a deep and serious listen, even if its duration is a mere 2 minutes and 21 seconds. I’m only two songs in? Yikes. Low Leaf sings in “Change Ur Frequency”, and now another piece of her puzzle has been added into the soundscape. It sounds moving and powerful, and in my mind she sounds like someone who understands music and uses it as her toy box or painting pallet.
I immediately came up with a few artists that her music reminded me of: Prince, Jazzanova, Reggie Watts, Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys, Clara Hill. It’s not that she sounds anything like them, but I hear the same amount of emphasis on the music that these artists share in their creations. “Bluish Chrysalis” has a number of electronic manipulations where she could easily create backing music for Radiohead, Bjork, or any mainstream artist that is out there, willing to explore the potential of sound with someone who is a sound explorer. What I loved was how she occasionally adds a bit of randomness to her music, simply because it sounds good. It may be the sound of what sounds like someone adjusting a record on a turntable with their hands, or a mere breath, a gasp. Anything that can be musical turns into music, and Low Leaf is someone I feel should be heard by anyone who loves music, regardless of personal preferences. She could easily create music for soundtracks, video games, rock bands wanting to push their own envelope, or classical fiends who want to cross borders. “Tala At Twilight” sounds like something you’d might expect to hear on a Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass collaboration, as if they decided to build the soundtrack interpretation of a natural phenomenon. Low Leaf’s Chrysalis EP consists of sounds made by someone who lives without music boundaries in a world with the potential to be borderless. The world needs more artists like her, and more music like this. If the title of this EP is a hint of her opening up and blossoming, the start of someone ready to fly, may she fly free without fear of a net.
(To hear other Low Leaf projects, click to official Soundcloud page.)