Wednesday, September 08, 2004

V/A: The Leaf Label Sampler
Delivery Room
label: The Leaf Label
rating: 3.5

by Colin James Nagy

By virtue of their prolific output, some labels can be notoriously hard to explore and understand. To counter this notion, the Leaf Label has released a low-priced introduction to some of the diverse talent on its roster, following the tradition of 2002's Lost for Words sampler. Some artists, including Murcof and Susumu Yakota, focus on pure electronic compositions, but the London-based label finds itself increasingly adept at treading the delicate balance between traditional instrumentation and full-blown electronica.

This is best seen with Colleen, who weaves organic tones and instruments via modern sequencing techniques on a laptop, and with Bill Wells's collaborations on "Pick Up Sticks" and "A Soldier's Shoulder," which blend delicate, hand-played percussion, trumpets and computer-processed glockenspiels. Furthering the eclecticism, Japan's Riow Arai displays mastery of the cut-up and glitched-out hip-hop breaks, and Manitoba blends shoegazer inspirations with additional electronic melodies and organic instrumentation.

For the price of a CD single, Delivery Room is a good opportunity to gaze in at some of Leaf's newborn talent and check up on some standby artists you may have missed in the flurry of releases from this excellent imprint.

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