• Leafcutter John - The Housebound Spirit

    Reviewed by Rob Young (The Wire)

    Leafcutter John - The Housebound Spirit

    Within the first 40 seconds of "The Housebound Spirit", Leafcutter John Burton manages to assemble the kind of complex, suggestive soundscape that most producers working in the field struggle to deliver once during an entire album. It feels effortless - a scattering of nameless electroacoustic burbles, an evanescent guitar fragment, some treated temple bells and a sudden squall of violin - but these few sparse fragments of sound hang together with the inviolable conviction of a fine haiku. And although a love of pure sound doubtless inspired by the academic adventures of Bernard Parmegiani and Pierre henry lies at the heart of everything here, John has foraged far beyond that abtruse world to gather the elements that his album neatly synthesises. "Electric Love" marries the lustful abandon of The Hafler Trio's "Fuck" with sugary backing vocals straight out of Tin Pan Alley. "Walk On My Back" sounds like Delia Derbyshire sitting in on the sessions for "Another Green World", while "Recain" grafts acousmatic flutters to the elegiac falls of Elizabethan viol music. There's even, in "House Or A Soul", a mournful ballad worthy of Will Oldham - but somehow, despite its variety, "The Housebound Spirit" retains an impressive coherence throughout

<< Back to reviews