Review Summary: Leon Vynehall invites you to come along on a journey through his debut album, and it's one hell of a ride.
There’s something to be said about a man like Leon Vynehall, who literally titles his album Music for the Uninvited
. You could interpret this as some sort of metaphor, wherein Vynehall is inviting all those who weren’t invited for some rave party with a popular house DJ to come to his side, and experience his interesting, unique take on the genre. Or maybe it’s just a tongue-in-cheek phrase thrown in for a snicker or two. The origami structure on the album cover of Music for the Uninvited
is just as susceptible to a symbolic analysis. Maybe it represents the constructive effort and outlook that Vyenhall strives towards when making his music. Regardless of these more philosophical views, one thing is evident about Leon Vynehall: He’s a devoted worker, having created four extended plays in just the past two years. And now, with his debut album, Vynehall has triumphantly risen above and established a niche for being one of the better underground house producers of the past few years.
House is known for having a fairly clear style of production, as compared to, say, ambient or garage music. There are exceptions, but as generally speaking, house is one of the “cleaner” genres of electronic music. Vynehall nails this aspect of his sound with leaps and bounds, managing to nest himself comfortably within a realm of clarity without diving straight into overproduction. Instrumentally speaking, there’s a large assortment of sounds and rhythms that Vynehall projects, from the groovy bassline and chiming of synthesizers on “Be Brave, Clench Fists” to the click-clacking of the drums on “Christ Air” and “Goodthing”. However, one of the strangest aspects of the music is the fact that at the end of almost every track, Vynehall throws in something of an “outro”. These “outros” have little to no actual correlation with the songs, and serve more to lead into the following tracks. This may seem bothersome and out-of-place to some, understandably so. It’s definitely a risk for Vynehall to just randomly thrown in an outro for each song and hope it’ll help the overall flow of the album improve, but it manages to pay off. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean this is some sort of gigantic, Dark Side of the Moon-esque album where you have to go through the whole album in one sitting for it to really feel complete. Most of the tracks are less than seven minutes long, with one exception in the form of “It’s Just (House of Dupree)”, and the individual tracks do manage to hold their own, even if the outros may feel a little disruptive without powering through the entire album. Speaking of “It’s Just (House of Dupree)”, even if it does end up clocking in at almost nine minutes in length, it’s probably the highlight of the album, with a steady bassline, ethereal synths, a bouncy rhythm, and excellent vocal sampling. Perhaps the highest chord the album strikes is that there’s never any drag. No song outstays its welcome, no drum beat deviates into monotony, no structure feels disjointed. And truth be told, that’s one of the best things that can be said about music based in repetition and gradual buildup.
When it all comes down to it, Music for the Uninvited
is, without a doubt, one of the better house albums of the year. Hell, it could even be said that it’s one of the better electronic
releases of the year if you’re feeling particularly optimistic. Because with his debut, Leon Vynehall has mixed together a nice melting pot from the best parts of house music, and combined it with a secret ingredient of his own to create one hell of a good time.