Seattle-based composer K. Leimer has been making ambient and experimental music since the mid 1970s, releasing the majority of it on his own Palace of Lights label. Inspired by the tape loop experiments of Brian Eno and the free-form cosmic explorations of krautrock groups such as Cluster and Neu!, he began creating similar sounds at a time when interest in these forms of music was virtually unheard of in the United States. Leimer’s music began attracting more interest than it ever had during the previous decades when RVNG Intl. issued A Period of Review, a collection of previously unreleased works.
Slight, Far is a self-deterministic, digital, instrumental, approximation of the tape technique used by Anthony Moore in his Pieces from the Cloudland Ballroom. Packets of expanding and contracting phrases occur in a rudimentary phase music setting, further randomised by manually varying the intervals between events so that, unlike Pieces, there is no likely resolution point. To imply distance, the results were then layered into differing “depths” of an artificial soundstage with the additional goal of intimating the organisational effects of position.
Even as a child I felt that, as incomprehensible as music was to me at the time, it was always too fast; too rushed. Especially lovely sounds – like feedback or the crumpling of an overloaded microphone – were almost always quickly passed over. Like virtuosic playing, an established aesthetic of neatness that attempted to avoid the actuality of the recording medium seemed aimed purely at entertainment and distraction. This sort of experience of music, I thought, ignores and wastes the vast detail, interest, and beauty carried inside every sound.
This has become one of the most important albums of my life. It’s essence is indescribable. Every sound from the start of the record through the end is placed delicately and with care. The album cover is by Julie Mehretu. It’s absolutely an incredible release for which I shall be eternally grateful. Aniket