Perhaps surprisingly, the appropriately titled ‘Melt’ is only Lee Burridge & Lost Desert’s first full album.
The All Day I Dream head honcho has collaborated with Lost Desert on numerous releases and EP’s that have fed the eponymous day parties all over the globe for years. From roof parties in Brooklyn in 2011, All Day I Dream has become a powerhouse label in the deep house genre with almost 50 EP’s and samplers since inception, with the brand developing a cult-like following stemming from their technicolor day parties.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – LeeBu & Lost Desert’s magic formula of ethnic vibes and vocals with a sprinkling of heart-tugging melodic strings has been applied with great effect. ‘Melt’ may include a familiar spectrum of sounds, but that is no bad thing. This collection of music is their magnum opus, with more depth and musicality than ever before. Not only are there some beautiful individual tracks, but in the modern world where attention spans are at an all-time low this is a welcome return of a dying art – a journey through an album.
Listeners and dancers alike will be rewarded with their patience by playing this LP from start to finish, as ‘Melt’ ebbs and flows with beautiful ethereal sounds to confront your senses. ‘Melt’ opens with a self-titled track, a 5 minute lullaby of an opener, complete with the tinkles of a dreamcatcher, orchestral chords and the hint of birdsong. This gentle soothing start is continued with ‘Sailing Without Compass’, ocean waves lapping the senses with a muted trumpet providing a cinematic melody, underpinned once again by a restrained string ensemble.
Next up, into more familiar territory, although a kick drum still to make an appearance. The unmistakeable vocalist Junior Akwerty of Lingala fame (Lingala, the Bantu language as well as the famous 2016 ADID release) returns on a full-length beatless version of the iconic track. It’s certainly
hard to beat the original, but sometimes less is more; aptly reworked for ‘Melt’, Junior’s familiar voice is a soothing melodic continuation of the opening two tracks.
The journey gradually builds up to some of the more recognisable deep house that ADID has become famous for with ‘Rain’; a slightly dampened kick drum at a gentle 116bpm is accompanied by some keys and background rainforest soundscapes, eventually joined by a bass and solo strings with breathy ethnic vocals. Warm, floaty, comforting, musical, enough of a beat to dance, effortless to sit back and listen to.
Simon Vuarambon joins Lee and Lost for ‘One’, picking up the pace a little at a conventional 120bpm. The Swiss producer and DJ based in Argentina probably most famous for his beautiful 2017 double-sided Ethiopian/Siberian release on Shanti Radio Moscow made his ADID debut with Alcyon in 2019 on the ‘Winter Sampler’. With ‘One’, he brings an angelic choral vocal accompanied by a string arrangement that sings.
The stand out track on the album is ‘Mibale’, the natural successor to the original ‘Lingala’, again featuring a magical Junior vocal. ‘Mibale’ means “two” in Lingala, in case any further evidence was needed. A 7” edit was tantalisingly released in June; this full-length version is a dreamy, floaty
track bursting with feeling; Junior’s unique voice adding depth that stirs the emotions. A cathartic experience that will be sure to tingle those lucky enough to hear it at sunset or sunrise and leave a lasting memory. Truly epic and worth a visit to Burning Man just for that!
‘Seven Magic Mountains’ is a more traditional affair, a few key chords and synths breaking the rolling percussion and bells. A gentle recovery from the absolute peak of ‘Mibale’; an interlude of sorts to catch your breath and hug your neighbour on that rooftop, in the desert, at a beach party or any other environment where ‘Mibale’ is best experienced.
Harmonies and strings return in spades with ‘Float On’, and with them, a renewed sense of passion. Originally released as an almost B-side on the ‘Elongi EP’ the Melt journey continues.
‘We-i-wo-we’ would easily fit into a cinematic score, perhaps a project for Lee & Lost in future. A deceivingly light-hearted melody running throughout ends up being coupled with emotive strings and balanced with some dirtier bass and synths. Best turned up loud, as with all music, but
particularly with this one to feel the evolving and building emotion.
The finale to this Melt masterpiece is ‘Christina’, daydreaming. It’s the end, almost time to reflect on the journey. Without percussion, it could have been a beautiful beat-less lullaby. However, instead, it’s “one more tune”, a rousing end to the experience to finish on a high.
This album is certainly Lee Burridge & Lost Desert’s finest work to date. A journey of emotions with real depth, deserving of a listen from start to finish, with electronic sounds perfectly complemented by traditional instruments and vocals throughout. There is nothing revolutionary about the sound design in Melt, and there doesn’t need to be. Electronic music tends to have a relatively short shelf life, however just as ‘Lingala’ ranks as the iconic ADID single, ‘Melt’ will undoubtedly be around for years as an iconic LP. Thank you for the music and the feelings!