Skläsh – LeRoy (2015)

So here we are, at the beginning of Skläsh, at the beginning of Like a Disease, at the beginning of a 39 minutes journey into LeRoy’s creation. To be honest, as I write these words, I’m still in my first love-phase with Skläsh. The /passionate/ phase. The “I wouldn’t think about cheating on you with any other album ever” phase. The “I will never get enough of you” phase. So, for once, unlike any other “review” I ever posted, you get the whole “crazy girl” loot. Enjoy.

First things first, Skläsh has been premiered in marvelous places in between the writing and publishing of this post. You can see the first preview and great portrait on The Guardian and listen to the whole album on The Quietus. The album will be out tomorrow, October 16, but you can pre-order it here.

Like A Disease is still the most wonderful (and wonderfully long) intro ever. I’ve grown to love the polyvalence of this track, it’s not just “I’M RUINED BY THIS BEAUTY” anymore. But well. The feeling is still there, from when I first heard it and spoken about [these new sounds from LeRoy] : These made me restless. These sounds are not comforting. They emptied my brain of any other sound ever made. All that is left is this beat-mantra regulating my breathing and that aerial guitar, tingling everywhere in my nervous system. What a well chosen title. This track spreads through you. Every new intervention is a whole new song in itself. How much time passed? 10 seconds? 8 bars? 13 minutes? A whole night of insomnia?

The emphasis on the simplicity of Blue Sea in the early promotion of the album is deeply misleading. The stark, nearly unedited acoustic guitar creates such a stark contrast with the ever-moving voice effects (a little more reverb/delay here, there, a little less effect here to make the original performance more apparent). The slow, slow, slow level modulation of the “bum-bum track” (it’s all more clear if you’ve watched this) is speaking words that are not discernable in the voice track. It’s not a simple track. It’s not an easy track neither. But give it a listen or three, and you’ll totally find the universality that lyricists seek when writing a folk-ish guitar-voice song. Except it’s LeRoy we’re talking about so of course, it’s much more than that.

I admit, my listening of The Beach was completely tainted by the fact that I’ve heard that riff before. You can find it on Lupe 5, a bonus digital track on the Helldunkel album by Protein. It’s a riff that I’ve attributed to Protein for months now. Now I know that Lupe 5 IS the collaboration between LeRoy and Protein and it was never mentioned, and not the contrary. So I tried to clear my mind and listen to it with fresh ears. Skläsh draws itself, song by song, as a Mantra-Album. Minimalism, aerial commentaries, the lines are clean. White. Yet , The Beach is acid-washed. Some colours remain in the corners.

Ktulus Return? Of course I will listen to the Call of Ktulu! That amazing 10 minutes of funky beats is always a good thing to come back to. This track doesn’t really get old?! Maybe that’s just the LeRoy effect at work again though. That little intimate touch he has, that goes straight under your skin, always welcome but always surprising in its effectiveness. So Ktulu has returned, and it’s not what you expected. I like to imagine that our protagonist is going through a new phase. The Call was all about physicality. The Return is all about emotive rationality. Similar song constructions because the universe where they grow is the same, and yet, the message is totally different. The effect is the same, though. An involuntary sway of the torso and head, repetitive synth lines that tingle, a bass line that engraves itself in your brain, and of course, the dreamy commentary on top that makes everything a whole.

Ok. Skai. This one totally comes as a surprise. Here’s why. To me, The Single and The Video are very serious issues. Choosing what you want your album to be referred to by a single track is tricky business indeed. Of course Like A Disease is not only a fantastic track, but it comes as very edgy as The Single since it’s so long and not industry-conventional. Skai would have been PERFECT as The Single. It’s a masterpiece song that comes as a total surprise, as a B-Side-sandwiched-track on the album. You can already hear the remixes, the club and dub edits. Damn, I’d even hear a country cover for all I care : it’s catchy as hell, it’s the return of the fever that got you in sweats in Like a Disease. It’s fantastic. Actually, it would have been too perfect for the The Single … It’s so good to discover this song without all the attention, the fireworks, the orchestrated “This! Is! A! Song! For! YOU!”. I actually wish all of you to hear Skai and just wonder how come this song is not a hit yet. Make your own idea about it – actually stop reading this and listen to Skläsh.

Oh, Untitled Long Time. The Video. That first glimpse into Skläsh, actually if you want to go all Aktuelles-nerdy. Untitled Long Time was great appetizer in itself, and it comes as a sweet surprise pretty far into the album. I can’t stop thinking at all the images this piece triggers, even if we already have a pretty stunning visual support in our hands – Anton Kaun is so, so, so sensible to music and the video he created is not only striking, it’s intimate and soulful. About the song itself, and heed my words : you could listen to Untitled Long Time a million times and you would still have things to catch up on. Its complexity is reminiscent of the mesmerizing beauty of the SMS sessions (there’s some more LeRoy material there if you’ve never heard of it): it’s organic, it’s timeless, it’s always evolving and yes, it FEELS good.

Niemals Erwachsen Werden, as we say in fandomspheres, gives me a lot of feels. It’s Das Hobos’ Automatic all over again (you can read about that here). It’s the good-night-kiss song. The song starts and you know something good is about to end, so you close your eyes and enjoy every sensation it procures. The riff keeps playing in your head as life goes on. It makes the sun brighter, somehow. Maybe you’re a little bit in love with that riff? Just a little? You need to know. So you play the song again. “Once again”, as he says.

Excerpt of a Facebook conversation about Like a Disease
LeRoy : Reng diggi deng
Émilie Gendron : Diggi diggi *thumbs up*
Émilie Gendron : P.s.: yes. White lines. Exactly. These two tracks intersect together. Like jet trails on different planes of the stratosphere, seen from below.
LeRoy : 
…skläsh is “white”

…Skläsh is “white”

White fields in the winter spreading into infinity

White lines, going through my mind

White light

White sheets

White noise

We feel White.

We touch, see and hear it so clearly.

Skläsh is all these things. Skläsh is the bright colours that blend into the purest light. Skläsh is the crisp linens that heal your body in your sleep. Skläsh is the sound of informations commuting inside your brain when you are drowning in silence.

Have a great listen to this incredible album. Let it spread through you, like a –