The Leaf Label is fast becoming the primary outlet for eclectic, adventurous and yet consummately accessible electronica in Britain. Hot on the heels of the Leaf-released 'Grinning Cat' by Susumu Yokota, one of the only true artisans of electronic music, comes this, an album of effortless, organic instrumentals resting somewhere between Amon Tobin's jazz excursions and the psychedelic folk-tronica released by Kieran Hebden under his Four Tet guise. As inspired as it is concise, 'Thurn & Taxis' is yet more evidence that avant-electronica is fast overtaking avant-rock as the genre of choice for those seeking diversity and innovation.
Opener 'Setting Sail', a gently swirling brew of plucked guitars, oscillating keys and melancholic vocal samples, contains many of the elements that permeate much of the rest of the music on offer here. Stephen Cracknell, the man behind Gorodisch and previously known for his work in Badly Drawn Boy's backing band, uses British folk guitar to excellent effect, weaving rustic multiple harmonies that make the skittish, jazzy rhythms employed on a handful of tracks here warm and inviting rather than cold and aloof.
'A Time To Listen' explores the jazz element more fully but never once does the track, a glorious collage of circling polyrhythms, clipped piano chords and dancing bass, slip into cerebral indulgence. 'Blues For Pablo Money', meanwhile, finds Cracknell's eloquent guitar work put to joyous effect, pitting it's rhythmic, minimal riffs to an insurgent bass line and muted trumpet, all tempered by a tangible undercurrent of melancholy. It sounds like it could fall apart at any second, but that's central to it's rootsy, shambolic appeal.
A wonderful taster for next years full length Gorodisch album, this enchanting mini-album of dream-like electronic fragments, a dizzying collision between the organic and the electronic, is a must. Superb.
8Tom Eyers's Score