I look forward to releases on the Resting Bell Netlabel as they seem always able to deliver a product that is a deep breath, an expansive thought, or a calming pill to my every day. One of the more recent releases available from Resting Bell, lefolk’s 8 track “isn’t this dangerous?”, made its debut in January. Since then I have found the release has made its way onto my iPod, home stereo, and multiple radio show playlists more often than many releases do. Whenever this happens I have to take pause and ask, “Why?”, as there is an exceedingly large amount of new music that comes across my digital doorstep every week and for something to take hold in my synapses and not be shaken free, to be soon forgotten, is not a simple occurrence.
lefolk (yes all lowercase) is audio/video artist Leif Folkvord of Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. He has released a previous album “intermitter” on NKR. The new release “isn’t this dangerous?” is described, on the Resting Bell Netlabel website, as “a deep and moving 48-minute journey. A fading structure and slight beats in the back, layered with organic drones and soundscapes and melodic sprinkles, hisses and crackles on top. The album is inspired by the stories of the ‘lost cosmonauts’. Whether true or not, lefolk is fascinated by the idea of souls who gave their lives in the pursuit of expanding the limits of mankind’s reach, yet have been forgotten to history or ignored altogether.”
Now here is what I believe allows “isn’t it dangerous” to stand out a bit in the sea of organic drones and glitch ambient. Too often artists in these genres pour out tracks which could be easily interchangeable – the glitchy electronic clicks and pops and scratches, the single tone drone with wave after wave of slight shifting wind blowing in my empty head, the “ambient” recording that is really just a slowed down techno release (that is a whole other rant I’ll save for another day or drunken tirade which you may all hope to avoid). Many of those releases lack variety and depth. The inability to feel each track as a separate entity processing a soul of its own, and at the same time an entire release of these tracks lacking a cohesive “story” or emotive thread to tie them all together, allows them to too easily become a collection of seemingly unfinished studio experiments.
Leif Folkvord has managed, with this release, to find a story that ties his tracks together. The drones of equipment and inner thoughts, as these cosmonauts hurtled through space or floated alone in emptiness, coupled with the glitched call and response of circuits and support aboard their craft or inside their suits give the listener a feeling for the vastness and reflection of their experience. The subtle beats carry the drone and glitch compositions forward, or outward, into the universe, supplying the tracks with movement and a path rather than just leaving them to roil in on themselves, becoming self-consuming emptiness.
The cosmonauts hailed in each track seem less lost or desperate, with their lives emptied of earthly bonds. Their souls seem to have become more expansive and limitless, united with the universe, through lefolk’s compositions.
Link to Release Page [RB116]
Explore more of lefolk’s audio and video releases at http://www.lefolk.com