Sébastien Léger – Lanarka / Sablier (Lost & Found)
Sébastien Léger is one of the great unsung heroes of house music. It’s not that he’s an unknown, and it’s not that he’s not been recognised for his weighty body of work, but in my opinion he has made some of the greatest, most complex, yet soulful electronic music of all time.
His recent alignment to Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream seems to have brought something out of him that has propelled his already stellar production skills to something nothing short of unparalleled.
This weekend I heard the sublime ‘Dida’ floating across a festival like a magic cloud, spreading joy in an emotional torrent with its orchestral strings and melodic outpouring. It is simply one of the greatest pieces of music made in the last few years. Then there is ‘Rocket to Lee’s Little Cloud’ a not so subtle nod to Sébastien‘s affiliation to Lee and his label.
It truly is like something special has happened to Sébastien. The richness of his sound, always apparent, has consolidated into a one-man showcase of excellence. A case in point is his latest release ‘Lanarka’ on Guy J‘s excellent Lost & Found. Almost ten short minutes of house music master-class, ‘Lanarka’ is the benchmark on using the relevant frequencies to make a track sound lush and full without being harsh or crowded. There is, of course, melody in abundance from the very start, gentle synth riffs percolating through the track like the breeze on a summers day, catchy cut-up vocals, church organ like pads and choral symphonies. Then the main melody comes in and sweeps you off your feet like an emotional tidal wave.
‘Sablier’ (hourglass) is a darker, more club focused track playing with melody and textures to build an ethereal wall of sound. Its oddness is hugely appealing in the way only Sébastien Léger could make it. There are subtle chants, a very solid bassline underpinning the pulsating groove, but it’s really all about the melody and the odd, off-kilter, almost other worldly vibe. If I was going to send a piece of music into outer space to communicate with other species this would be it.
The vinyl release has an additional track ‘Ice Palace’ that will not be available digitally. You can say with confidence that Sébastien Léger is on top of his game. If this isn’t his magnum opus then I will be watching with acute interest to see where to next.
I say with some hesitation, that this release is an instant classic.