- Above all, the music of Leif Knowles is about refinement. His field—deep house—may be densely populated, but Knowles' talent lies in drilling deep into its conventions to excavate objects of unusual beauty. In this regard he seems only to be improving, at least if Nour And Light is anything to go by. Central to its appeal is "Solstice," which opens draped in sheets of static before, over eight minutes, slowly gaining clarity and pace. By the end we're on firmer house ground—some gloopy synth stabs here, a melt-in-the-mouth chord there. In another producer's hands, the cleverness of this progression would be foregrounded, but here Knowles makes it seem as simple and natural as breathing.
Each track has its own subtle but effective drama. "With Your Sincere Heart" takes its title from the featured field recording of a street evangelist struggling to be heard against a bustling background. Knowles, who named his debut LP after a hill near his rural Welsh hometown, has always kept the urban at arm's-length; here it's bedded deep beneath sizzling hi-hats and rich, windswept chords. "Once There Was Nothing," meanwhile, centres on the sort of twinkly two-chord piano loop that pleasantly says very little. It's all in the framing: the pads, like rich trails of butter across a warm frying pan; the bassline, enormous and muslin-soft; the surprisingly tight flex between kick drum and hi-hat. Only the darker "Sintra," with its meandering steelpan bassline, is less than a direct hit.
A2 With Your Sincere Heart
B1 Once There Was Nothing