"Legov succeeds in pulling the listener in from the outset, providing them with a warm, welcoming realm for contemplation"
When Leafar Legov first emerged with his solo EP back in 2016, he established himself as an artist with a deeply idiosyncratic voice. From the droning organ prelude of the title track, ‘Talk’, to the hip-hop beats and pitch shifted vocals on ‘Ladder’, it was clear that Legov was adept at assimilating disparate styles into a personal language.
But it was the final track on that EP that felt particularly unique. A solemn procession of grave chords played on an antique piano. Faint glimmers of electronics and cello. A thick crust of surface noise sounding akin to a dusty, long-forgotten acetate. Every element of ‘MX Home’ was special, capturing a rare emotion somewhere at the intersection of pathos, darkness and faint optimism.
‘Mirror’, Legov’s debut album, takes that emotion as a starting point, exploring its different strands across each of its twelve tracks. ‘Hydde’ and ‘Mit Dir’ are essays in twilight hour hopefulness with their languid hip-hop beats and relaxed keyboards. ‘Wave’, ‘Fly’ and ‘The Slip’ focus on a Gigi Masin-esque poignancy. ‘Hidden Treasure’ and ‘Sardegna’ stray close to the murky and subterranean, all the while offering glimpses of reassuring light.
The pacing and sequencing is immaculate and controlled throughout. Four balmy, percussion-free pieces act as interludes, refreshing the ears and dividing up each pair of longer tracks. Like the gentle lapping of waves, Mirror has a natural ebb and flow to it, and generous fade-outs and silences continually reset the energy back to neutral. Nothing feels too fast or too slow. All credit must go to Legov’s laissez faire approach, and his careful awareness not to force or overburden each arrangement.
Much effort has clearly been made to establish Mirror’s cohesive sound. Legov succeeds in pulling the listener in from the outset, providing them with a warm, welcoming realm for contemplation. Sadly, I was woken from the reverie on a couple of occasions, the woozy synth melodies on ‘Hydde’ and ‘Mit Dir’ proving too much and disrupting the delicate dreamworld. Fortunately, these moments of wakefulness were only fleeting, and I soon succumbed again to the inviting haze.
There is a drifting, improvisational quality to much of Mirror. Harmonies and sections seem to blur into one another, with Legov throwing the odd curveball in places and eschewing expectation. Take ‘In Your Mirror’, a club music abstraction retaining only the essential kick-hat interplay of house. After 5 minutes just shy of 120 BPM, Legov uses a breakdown to morph into a 90 BPM, beat-free stroll through the forest, complete with gently chirping crickets and the crystalline sounds of a music box. This transition has all the organicism of a live DJ mix, and you temporarily forget you are in fact listening to an album track.
A similar moment comes on ‘Abbas’, where the piano and double bass break from their confines, interrupting the wistful clarinet with their solo exchanges. During this section, we’re transported to a pause in a live studio recording session, as if the music we heard before it never truly existed. Transient moments like these are where Mirror shines brightest, and where the call for supine listening is at its strongest.
‘Mirror’ LP is out now in digital format, vinyl is expected to ship 20 April. Order a copy from Giegling.
5. In Your Mirror
6. Hidden Treasure
9. Mit Dir
11. The Slip