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Leava, AKA Simon Nicol – Photo courtesy of Simon Nicol
Rising Seattle-located producer and musician Simon Nicol is releasing his debut EP TRUE BLVRS under the moniker Leava. The EP comes on the heels of a string of singles that the multi-instrumentalist has posted at SoundCloud over the past couple of years.
The five-track TRUE BLVRS is a Bonobo-esque record with hints of Radiohead and Boards of Canada and the result of conceptual exploration via experimentation and production.
EP-opener “Had Enough” features Nicol’s coolly anxious crooning (a la Thom Yorke) set against a minimalistic backdrop of slow, bulbous beats, an echoed clanking pace, and brightly ringing bell-tone sonics.
“PIAPD” rolls along with a similar measured pace, but Nicol’s vocal grow rougher and stronger as he sing-talks about a “fear of irrelevance”. A lighter and more retro vibe runs through “CDT”, at least at its start, before it wanders into disconnected territory where slightly discordant, yet bright notes follow his vocals.
The woozy “Hangers-On” sounds like the drunken end of the party, with wobbling sonic loops, little blips of horns pitted against a quicker rhythm. Nicol’s plaintive vocal delivery moves from dreamy to fretful and back again, changes in mood that reflect the malleable nature of his music that is strewn throughout with catchy melody, disorienting noises, and unusual sonic combinations.
Calmer EP-closer “Two 4 One” is a pretty comedown number that droops delicately with fluid, reflective reverb guitar lines and gentle bell-tone notes. Nicol’s vocals are still on the tense and questioning side amid the instrumental beauty, showcasing his assured take on experimental music.
Nicol comments, “TRUE BLVRS sort of feels like a fragmented beginning. It was built on a set of challenges I’ve wanted to see actualized and so, each song is pretty different as a result. I’m only now starting to feel like I’m hitting the right spots with new tools and ideas. So my next Leava release will be on another plane entirely.”
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