Jasper Leyland


May 2006



The debut album from Jasper Leyland combines melodic drone structures with deft acoustic manipulations and splashes of field recordings. Following the ‘Capsize’ EP of August 2005, it marks a significant progression in both his structural sophistication and sound processing skills. As the five tracks unfold he moves between a variety of instrumental sources, applying subtle digital manipulation to craft dense organic compositions.

The opening title track is made entirely from zither sounds, and slips from weighty drones into a beatific haze of fine-grained loop treatments and scattering plucks. A dense bed of field recording rustles then emerges, effortlessly establishing the overcast menace of ‘Riseholme’. This beautifully understated piece develops with satisfying sense of restraint, as snaking synths intertwine with muted acoustic guitar rhythms and crackling textures. These elements continually expand and contract together before the track reaches its peak ten minutes in. At this point the opening layers vanish into a glassy sheen of processed melodica, which then simmers in a tense transitional passage. Momentum gradually builds again as fragments of field recordings flicker across the stereo field, triggering a tiny hiss-loop which finally releases the remainder of the track. The piece then closes on some elegantly free picked guitar flourishes.

‘Riseholme’ can be seen as the culmination of a defined period in Brewster’s progression so far as a composer. After finishing the ‘Capsize’ EP he had an extremely prolific 8 month period, honing his sound and creating hours worth of potential album material. As he continued the writing process many tracks were superseded and left by the wayside, and a whole series of lengthy pieces finally led him to this one.

The centrepiece of the album is ‘Lapse’, which sees a return to the manipulated synth tones of the ‘Capsize’ EP. Here, however, the same sound sources are deployed with a refined sense of textural sophistication and conjured into an endless hall of mirrored pulses.

A lighter mood then takes hold for the remainder of the album. ‘Turned’ is a playful vignette of filtered acoustic guitar cut-ups and tumbling found-sounds (the latter obtained on a Norfolk beach by burying a microphone in pebbles and recording the results). ‘Prospect’ is a majestic 14 minute expanse of ebbing electric guitar resonance, where rippling tones scatter thrillingly complex click patterns in their wake. This closing piece conveys a sublimely melodic sense of hope, evoking the first outlook across balmy waves to never-before-seen shores.

The CD comes in a black card sleeve with cover photograph by Cecilia Ek, and is limited to 150 copies.

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