Leftfield - Rhythm and Stealth


Jun 23 2011, 14h08

I vaguely remember that, when I was small, there was a situation comedy called Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width'. By the standard implied in that phrase, Leftfield are poor value. In a career spanning 14 years (with an 8 year gap from 2002-2008) they have produced a grand total of two studio albums, each of which took about four years to make.

However, each of those albums has been a masterpiece!

The first thing you notice about them is the distinctiveness of the cover art.

Leftism features a shark's jaw in front of a speaker cone.

Rhythm and Stealth features a samurai's suit of armour.

I can still remember my bitter disappointment when Rhythm and Stealth failed to win the 2000 Mercury Prize :(

The next thing you notice is the music. Every track is very distinct and yet each of the albums has a unity of 'feel' about it. The rhythms are complex but compelling. The textures are synthetic but organic. And while there are strong influences from punk, dub, dancehall and rock,

Leftfield are a pair of white, male, Londoners (I have heard rumours that they frequent the area between St John's Wood and Kentish Town). They do not sing. Some of their tracks are instrumental, but they often work with guest vocalists, who contribute distinctive traits to the tracks. However there is a unifying theme to the lyrics; there concern is poverty rather than wealth; the oppressed not the oppressor.

The use of guest vocalists is now commonplace in electronic music, but they pioneered the practice. Indeed pioneering is perhaps the characteristic of their work. In spite of their albums' long gestation, they were ever so slightly ahead of their time on release.

They still sound fresh to me every time I listen.


Deixe um comentário. Faça login na Last.fm ou cadastre-se agora (é gratuito).