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Monday, 25 March 2013

Double Leopards - 'Savage Summer Sun' (Hospital)

When we last left Double Leopards it was with Halve Maen; fast-forward a couple years and we get this digitised slice of two live performances, filling the CD's 73 minutes and being relentless in its deep, rumbling drones. Here, we can see the progression of the band as a collective unit, where four humans create an abstract sound-world. They weren't the first to do it, nor were they the last, but they hit on something unique and personal during the mid-00s which is commendable (despite spawning legions of imitators, which isn't their fault). The first track begins with a wall of low frequencies, during which we start to hear screaming, free-jazz styled noodling emerge over a slow, military-like rhythm. It's still subdued by the density that fills the midrange spectrum,  which gradually allows a razor-sharp counter-drone to fight against it. Movement is slow, and change almost imperceptible, but there's a brash charging forward felt here - I would even call it 'energy'. It's not an obvious melting of like-minded improvisers but rather distinct personalities, united in some goal, though of course the unconventional instrumentation (I am guessing lots of processed voice, homemade synthesisers  and keyboards) means this could all be the work of a single person.  And then the second track begins with a full-on assault, with layers suggesting water, metal, and ruptured velocity. It's anti-meditative drone music, yet horizontal enough to be based on some minimalist heritage. It's a live performance and the rough edges are present; some percussion comes and goes but resembles a fumbling in the rumbling; not a bad thing, and this instability presses against the endless cycles. And when it ends, it's the silence that is savage. Thus we bid Double Leopards farewell, though I swore I had more recordings by them -- whatever happened to my vinyl copy of A Hole is True?

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