Step Right Up: Huerco S.
Huerco S. (aka Brian Leeds) has recently released ‘Colonial Patterns’, the debut album by the hugely talented Kansas City producer, available now on the Software label.
Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry
Huerco S. is the pseudonym for Kansas City producer Brian Leeds. The debut record, entitled ‘Colonial Patterns’ has been very recently released into the world by the ever impressive Software imprint. The Brooklyn-based label is run by Dan Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) and Joel Ford (who alongside Lopatin comprises of the synth-pop duo Ford & Lopatin), who specialize in electronic music. Established in 2011, the label have been responsible for a plethora of compelling explorations in the electronic realm – acclaimed artists such as Megafortress, Carlos Giffoni, Slava, Blanck Mass, Pete Swanson, Autre Ne Veut, Ford & Lopatin amongst others – where the newest electronic master-class of ‘Colonial Patterns’ reflects the pedigree and calibre of artists home to the prestigious label.
An entire new world of enchanting techno music is meticulously crafted by Leeds, where the tape hiss and vinyl crackle of ‘Colonial Patterns’ transports you to a new realm, as the subconscious enters a sense of oblivion. What is most striking about Huerco S. is the emotive feel that radiates from the software and synths utilized by Leeds. Upon repeated listening, ‘Colonial Patterns’ reveals the intricate patterns inherent in the supreme musical structures dotted across the self-contained sonic world unleashed by the young producer (a mere twenty two years of age). The pieces are dynamic – forever evolving into new entities – that creates a deep space within the sonic framework. Recent releases consisted of a handful of 12″s and cassette, including a twenty-minute synth exploration (‘Untitled’), which Leeds cut in collaboration with Exael for Opal Tapes.
Interestingly, Leeds works cheaply, employing low-end software, synths and cassettes, the effect of which is the creation of something utterly timeless. Non-musical influences consisted of architect Paolo Soleri, known for the concept of “Arcology” (a fusion of architecture and technology) as well as the ancient Native American mound city of Cahokia. The site of Cahokia in Illinois marks prior Native American societies whose existence was derailed by the colonialist revelation of the so-called New World.
The Software imprint has explained that “Leeds makes techno folk music that carries remnants of the past into the future.” These words epitomise the humaneness of the electronic suites that breathes feeling and where a sense of space and time is all but lost. ‘Colonial Patterns’ is a deeply immersive experience.A parallel can be made with Darren Cunningham’s Actress project, whose blend of hazy electronic soundscapes (particularly, 2013’s ‘R.I.P) shares Leeds’ intuitive feel for beats, textures and rhythms. Side A’s longest cut, ‘Plucked From The Ground, Towards The Sun’ is a sublime slow-burning house odyssey, as dazzling house rhythms gradually coalesce onto the foreground of the mix. A term already used to define the sound of Huerco S. of “midwestern techno and house” is somewhat accurate. Towards the final movement, the synths arrive to a gorgeous crescendo. Again, it is the emotive feel that exudes from the blend of synthetic elements that is simply staggering. The elements of Leeds’ chosen sounds are more direct and hard-hitting on the immaculate tour de force of ‘Quivira’. An infectious groove is created here, as hypnotic beats and looped cassettes – inaudible voices and beautiful noise – sway into your consciousness. The output of London-producer, Burial can be a reference point.
A repetition of vocals on ‘Anagramme Of My Love’ conjures up the sound of ecstatic bliss. The seamless textures of the shape-shifting piece brings to mind Theo Parrish. An irresistible deep house groove permeates the killer track that is ‘Ragtime U.S.A (Warning)’. The piece contains limitless nuances and damn-fine tone-structures: a deep voice is looped throughout pulsating beats and shape-shifting rhythms. My personal favourite moment of ‘Colonial Patterns’ arrives four-and-a-half minutes in: dazzling boogie rhythms stop you in your tracks, as the bass is pumped up and new-found sounds effortlessly unfurl into the mix. The rhythms and pulses are beautifully blurred. A stunning ambient gem ascends into the atmosphere in the form of ‘Monks Mound (Arcology)’ that effortlessly drifts into another dimension. The vast expanses of ambient music is wonderfully ventured down by Leeds. A contrastingly brooding feel takes over ‘Prinzif’ as the vinyl crackle interwoven with a cascading flurry of synths casts a vitality to proceedings. Album closer ‘Angel (Phase)’ is irresistible and the ideal way to end such a unique voyage that recalls the likes of Four Tet and the melancholia of William Basinski. To begin to deconstruct the seamless layers of enveloping sound would be a distinct impossibility. A meditative quality exudes from the gorgeous waves of vocals and dreamtime rhythms. Joe Meek’s ‘I Hear A New World’ slowly begins calling as the digital beauty of ‘Colonial Patterns’ fades into the embers of tomorrow.
‘Colonial Patterns’ is out now on Software.