LHF - For The Thrown

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  • Existing primarily as a collective, Keysound crew LHF release all of their music under the group banner, so it's easy to forget that the four members have their own distinct identities. That communal nature made their debut double-album, Keepers Of The Light, a spellbinding cross section of London dance music, but their work since then has revealed more specific focuses. First was this year's EP4, which zoomed in on a classicist strain of dark garage and was largely the work of Double Helix. For their second album, the group have handed over the reins to Amen Ra, who flips the LHF sound on its head into something bright and spirited. It's like someone finally flicked on the streetlights that line LHF's dark, urban alleyways, taking the retro-futurism of their past work to a more singular and personal place. For The Thrown's first half comprises hazy new age synth washes, exotic instrumentation and bobbing broken beat. Even the percussion feels lightweight, as if it was hollowed out. In some cases, the music is still made of classic LHF ingredients: "Surrender" features the darting strings and Middle Eastern instrumentation of past Amen Ra tracks, but this time they're effervescent instead of anxious. Some moments do come right out of the blue, however, like "Horizon," a balmy mist topped off with a relaxing guitar solo reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Marooned." The first time I heard it, I had to make sure my computer hadn't jumped to another album. Even deep in unfamiliar territory, Amen Ra handles the sound with confidence and skill, from the synth waterfalls of "Yielding" to "Triumph"'s steel drum lullaby. "Wet Harmonic" and "Mud And Root" both have echoes of LHF's gritty past, albeit couched in For The Thrown's pastel palette. The latter, with its shards of Amen breaks, is a nod to the lineage of UK dance music that usually props up LHF's discography. Another obvious reference sounds like little else in their catalogue: on "One Door Isn't Enough," a collaboration with No Fixed Abode, Amen Ra approaches Photek-style '90s drum cut-ups with all the the contentment of someone reclining in a La-Z-Boy. Where previous work explored darkside drum & bass, here Amen Ra teases out the genre's jazzier elements. Taken in tandem with EP4, For The Thrown signals a new era for LHF, one that pushes the crew's individual personalities ahead of their formidable group attack. And this album shows them at their most idiosyncratic, looking outside of UK dance music history and finding new ways to express their core inspirations. For The Thrown isn't so much a curveball as an excavation, digging further into the hardcore continuum the way Keysound has always done so well.
  • Tracklist
      01. Gateway feat. Octaviour 02. Surrender 03. Horizon 04. Yielding 05. Entrapment 06. One Door Isn't Enough feat. No Fixed Abode 07. Wet Harmonic 08. Mud And Root 09. Triumph 10. Natural Boost