If I had to pick only one word to describe this self-released debut album, it would have to be ‘captivating’. When I signed up for reviewing it, I was warned it’s going to be ‘a bit weird and tricky’. It turned out to be my own musical Rescue Remedy, so precious to the composer herself. It simply had the same effect on me as my most favourite place in London, Regent’s Canal – it created an ambiance universal, regardless of time and space, it touched the quiet in me and allowed me to get lost in my own thoughts and calm down.
I know I’m not qualified to comment on classical aspects of Leah Kardos’s music, however I’m aware the album as a whole has been compared to a classical suite. It is Leah’s expression of her love for her first instrument – the piano. Each composition of the album explores the piano’s sounds touching a whole spectrum of emotions, from a stresses of everyday life to guilt.
Still, to me, the real beauty of this album lies in the ambient sounds introduced in between the piano chords and alongside the classical/contemporary lines, Kardos’s ambient is inspired by the likes of Brian Eno and John Cage – it’s minimal, atmospheric, very subtle but truly remarkable. The sound of a telephone ringing in ‘Houses’ makes me alert and cautious every single time, whether I’m home alone or in the middle of a 4-way intersection. ‘DFACE (Practice This Video)’, with a sample from a YouTube piano tutorial, calls me to go back to the keyboard and practice. ‘Apology’, even though following a simple idea of sampling various voices, hits a very fine string and not only makes me want to apologise, but depending on the moment can even bring a shy tear to my eye.
The whole album is very cinematic, often brings to mind Nils Frahm’s work – it’s so clear and precise you can not only hear the ambience, but also the sounds of piano keys stroked by Kardos’s fingers. Each composition, following a different emotion, creates an individual musical landscape. It reminds me of my friend’s project Lights Dim, geeky on a musical and cinematic level, similarly using samples from movies and everyday devices, creating sonic spheres, enticing and utterly beautiful.
‘Father Hammer’ is one of those albums which I probably wouldn’t come across myself if I wasn’t poked in the right direction and tempted by the words ‘a bit weird’. But it’s not weird at all, it is out of my everyday musical comfort zone but its minimalism and austerity make me come back to it every time I want to disappear completely and the only way I can is to sink into music.
Available now through Bigo And Twigetti
Posted by Magda