From the Coral to the Grey jumps in with both feet, wasting not a second. The set starts with bright pads and handpan tones, augmented with subdued chorals and a sense of forward movement. Solo artist Leigh Redding (Give Me Monaco) calls his process regeneration: the repurposing and positioning of sonic fragments in order to create a harmonious whole. Throughout the album, Redding skirts the edge of modern composition, adopting the architecture of orchestras while simultaneously inviting listeners to dance. The warm results are perfect for those who may be sitting at home, dreaming of dancing even if reluctant to do so alone.
This is a perfect year for musical metaphor. Our world seems to be fractured, a reflection of tikkun olam, and we are provided the opportunity to put the pieces back together, perhaps in a new, more durable fashion. In creating these tracks, Redding recognizes the value of each particular shard. The upbeat timbre is a sign of hope, while the consistent flow suggests alignment.
This being said, there are highlights. The stereo effects, present throughout the set, are best showcased on “Walnut,” which demands one sit between speakers for optimal enjoyment. Lead single “Satin” matches an IDM underpinning to a more ambient pad progression. And “Aftershow” (which despite its title is the opening track) boasts the most memorable percussive line, swiftly joined by electronic handclaps to enhance its club appeal.
But in the end, it’s all about how the listener feels. If the listener feels calmer, more centered, recalibrated, regenerated, then this music has done its job. If said listener then makes a positive contribution to the world, all the better. (Richard Allen)