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6 January 2013

Double Leopards - 'Halve Maen' (Eclipse)

We're back after a hiatus where we listened to no sound at all - a self-imposed anechoic chamber which means Halve Maen, where we left off, sounds like the most overwhelming and powerful sound of all (after the lack). The title must be Old English, or something, and the artwork is perfect to support the dark, cavernous sounds inside. This is primitive but not simple; a very careful, mature experimental field that builds on the experiments of the last album, adding some (dare I say?) polish to the proceedings. 'Druid Spectre' uses a piano to create something probing, beautiful in texture and tempo. The second side's long 'A Hemisphere in Your Hair' fulfills the promise of a new age; it moves, enveloping air like a cloud, not eschewing structure but rather jogging alongside it. The drums that come in at the end are like a wakeup call. Double Leopards might never transcend Halve Maen's intimacy; even the noisier tracks on the second record ('The Forest Outlaws' is a beacon of light towards the dirty 00s, a decade they would conquer, without trying) feel like they are made close to the heart, close to the ears. There's a constant folding at play - a representation of sound that is wet, layered, and unraveling all at once. The tools may be simple or may be complex - it's not relevant. It's hyperbole, perhaps, to say the promise of Pebble is fulfilled here, especially as they followed this with further explorations and more great records. But this is a masterful summation of the Double Leopards sound, at least their early sound, and records like this make me still love the sound recording object as art form.

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