- Though he's lived in London for years, Leif Knowles is a quintessential Welsh producer. The sparse and hilly country where he grew up tends to foster heady sounds: there are hardly any clubs, so DJs earn their chops playing intimate events mostly filled with other artists and music obsessives (this includes the mighty Freerotation festival). Perhaps as a result of this, Knowles' records are perfectly mixable but also dreamy, understated and not conventionally party-friendly—made for the DJ, in other words, if not the club (the same can be said of the music he and Joe Ellis release on their label, Untilmyheartstops). Life Through Analogies, his new EP on Bristol's Idle Hands, nicely captures this singular quality.
Knowles and Idle Hands both specialize in deep and offbeat grooves, which is very much what we get here. "Salix" creates a kind of bobbing motion through an irregular kick pattern with a single clap in every other measure. The brilliant title track is a kaleidoscope of angular rhythms, cloaked in ghostly ambiance and dotted with thick bass tones. "My Heart Stopped Beating" has a touch of Portishead to it, thanks to a sad piano and sultry vocal snippet, which frame a muffled, stepping rhythm. All three are gentle and immersive, and for my money the best tracks yet from this under-appreciated artist.
A1 Life Through Analogies