From the blog

Visiting Craig Leon

T Davis Wood

In 1982, only one album – “Big Science,” Laurie Anderson’s sterling assortment of Brave New Music – earned a heavier shower of critical bouquets from this writer than “Nommos” by Craig Leon. For pure sonic innovation, the tragically overlooked “Nomos” should be recalled as a benchmark album for new-age music in the ’80s.

It seems hard to imagine that the fellow who produced the Ramones’ first crash-bang-thud album (and has since moved to L.A. to handle such fringe favourites as Berlin, 45 Grave and the Fibbonacia) could manufacture such mesmerising mind-music. This is music designed with a non-passive listener in mind, closely linked with the work of Brian Eno (particularly of his “Ambient” series), K. Leimer (“Closed Systems Potential”) and Tangerine Dream around its “Phadrea” era.

On his second all-instumental album, “visiting” (Arbitor / Thunderbolt Records), Leon brings us more music for moonlight strolls in monument valley, entrancing soundscapes that people burdened with pedestrian taste would probably classify as experimental (i.e., weird) rather than musical.

“Visiting” is a bit of a departure from “Nommos” in that a little less emphasis is placed on Reichlike repetition. Only two songs, “Three Small Coins” and “Details Suggest Fidelity to Fact,” touch on Leon’s fascination with merging space music and electrified tribal rhythms – the primary theme exploited on “Nommos.”

The skilled ear can detect humor in Leon’s music such as the subtle playfulness of contorting a military marching cadence into music for a space walk(“One Hundred Steps “). The title song, incorporating some becalmed zither music, and percussion-free closing cut, “The Customs af the Age Disturbed,” are interesting meditative pieces, although this terrain has already been explored widely by Eno. Leon’s innovativeness with high Tech rhythms serves as his distinguishing flourish.

Admittedly, Leon’s music requires and acquired taste.

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