It didn’t take Leo James a long time to establish a solid sonic identity. Three records in, all released via his own imprint Body Language, which he operates from sunny Melbourne, and the Aussie has already settled as one of the few producers out there – alongside sine-wave sculptor Tolouse Low Trax and a handful – to really challenge the tried-and-tested recipes of 4/4 dynamics with a mind-altering collage of new age techno and off-piste industrial tropes.
Seeing James land on the rising Vienna-based, Bauhaus-friendly label Neubau, is far from a coincidence and certainly a good occasion to see what Leo is up to once taken out of his antipodean comfort zone. Delivering the third number in the Austrian imprint’s budding yet already widely acclaimed catalogue, ‘What Happened To You‘ EP finds James in spectacular form.
The title track works a wonky, off-kilter groove, limping its way across a labyrinthine circuit of cold, bouncy bass outlines. The overall architecture leans towards sophisticated minimalism with surgical efficiency yet inoculates a bizarre warmth to its fracturing perc motifs and leashed weirdness. True to its title, the metal-heavy highlight ‘Conductor‘ spits out pent-up fire through a fine balance of industrial ballistic and deep floor-intelligence. Serious offbeat weapon.
On remix duty as 3rd Wave, Gordon Pohl delivers a rather interesting take on James’ effervescent blends with more of a distressed, aery tip. Halfway the frigid bleeps of an alarm’s rippling echoes and calming lilt of an old music box melody, Pohl’s rendition essentialises James’ sound into a proper fascinating scenario of morphine-induced dreamscapes. Promises kept, the tantalising joint venture has confirmed to be a matter of heart and mind in equal amount.
What Happened To You EP is out now, order a vinyl copy from Discus Throwers.
A1. What Happened To You
B1. What Happened To You (3rd Wave Remix)