Label: Local Talk
Set a drift in the music world is the intrepid anomaly that is Moscow’s maverick Alexander Lay-Far. Not content with making music just for the sake of it he seeks out artist’s of similar like-mindedness and ethos with which he can exercise his creative expanse. Released on Swedish label Local Talk, run by Mad Mats and Tooli, et voila! Here you have it – his second album and the meanderings or imaginary spiritual journeys as he put it. The brief he set himself he has successfully achieved with the help of some impressive musicians and producers who more than know their stuff.
After the ethereal intro first main track, Like The First Time featuring Magic Number, is a hip and melancholic affair it bursts into your audial world and makes you smile. Ross Hillard’s magic fingers wheeling some fret workouts on the bass, really sets it apart from the other tracks, you just can’t beat instruments sometimes it’s easy to forget how organic it all is. Just too gorgeous this one – mesmerizing vocals feeling like the first time you fell in love… (with music of course).
Tripping the disco light fantastic is interlude track Dva Kolca Dva Konca and wow this needed to be longer. A dramatic entrance fit for a diva of double bass symbols and percussion bouncing along with strings and wah-wah’s fit for a musical score even Nile Rodgers would approve of, ooh this nice. Lock And Rock‘s mixture of organic and synth disco continues Lay-Far’s experimentation with disco on an easy-listening tip. Definitely developing a theme here is the nicely styled Slope (Upbeat) featuring Ashley Beedle and Darren Morris. There’s nothing like having a bit of Black Science Orchestra to add a little authenticity to this laid back track.
If you want some broken beat niceness who do ya call? Well Mark De Clive-Lowe of course! Jazzy scales match the frenetic pace of Jump Higher. Hyper-synthing and strobing with vocal skits and skats amidst a grainy tech four-four is slowed down with super cool bass and flowing keyboards midway. Some vocal attitude is served up in Draw Your Bow VS. with Restless Soul Fun Band & Shea Soul. Nice to hear Shea’s vocal maturity as she delivers her soulful nodes amongst the warping and swirling filters on the this funky acid soul track. After an interesting interlude of a sampled Peter Kaye is funky track Side 2 Side (I Just) as I’ve mentioned before I’m a sucka for a cheeky hook and this has that and more amassed in tweaks and blips that melodically vibe along, I see this one being quite popular.
Getting a dose of the hard stuff Submerging is disco’s bitchy dark twin who’s giving you just enough kick-drum to knock you down and ‘hurt ya’. Rolling, reeling, filtered and down-right mean this takes no prisoners it will funk you right out – killer track. Broken and funky wah-wah comes in the epic form of Mystical Rhythms/Kaleidoscope Represent featuring Sean McCabe. McCabe fully embracing his inner funk on this here track is as refreshing as it is catchy. Still on the funk tip is Another Way (The Siren Song) amping up in cyber music dialogue with some vocoder vocals, like a European interpretation of Funkadelic, very interesting indeed.
Drop The Time featuring Ann Weller is like walking into some playboys den in the seventies and chilling with some really hot girls, a table full of drugs, smoking blunts and listening to this track. That is the only way I can describe this nuevo-disco edit and what it conjures up with Weller’s heavily hypnotic vocals submerged in the track, love this. Rising/In Between Concepts is the last full track of the album and sees Lay-Far do a semi-return to the music he’s known for. Pacey and experimental it’s a track that brings you down off the highs of the previous ones which some may seem not a good thing and others may welcome it.
The album is Lay-Far’s journey – a deconstruction and reconstruction of disco and funk through his ears and senses and it ain’t half good. Submerging being my odds-on favourite there are plenty to enjoy here it’s wickedly addictive.
Review by Sandra Swaybe-Barrett
On General Release Now
Music | Lay-Far – How I Communicate