Review Summary: Cows without a train.
There’s a familiarity imbued in Brian Leed’s music that seems to retread a thousand footsteps. I hear sounds - careening, pittering - filtered through many ears. One rather fetching writer once compared Leed’s more recent work under the Huerco S moniker to Herbert Distel’s La Stazione
, and the essence extends, here; what feels familiar and well-traveled becomes blanketed in connotations. Compare a floor that hasn’t seen foot traffic in an entire day - perhaps ever - with that of a railway station (or airport, take your pick) after a holiday rush: aesthetically and structurally they may be nearly identical, but they differ. One bears the weight of phenomena. Make Me Know You Sweet
isn’t an old album, and is the first under the Pendant pseudonym, yet it has this uncanny communal presence established. Specifically, of coming / of going / in transience.
Make Me Know You Sweet
rarely feels like a terminus should. At least, not like a destination, not quite. Tracks like "KVL-LWQ” dazzle in lurid motion, bombarded with stimuli, stuck somewhere between a nightclub bathroom and a back alley. Songs like fuzzy opener "VVQ-SSJ” evoke thought loops akin to the rhythmic passing of street lamps. The sound doesn’t really project to the forefront, or subsist beyond the peripherals. 2016’s Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
felt markedly more pronounced in its presence. Via Pendant, we have ambient music at its most bolstering, and occasionally, by contrast, at its most dismantling as well / often, it’s reciprocated by the environment. Closer “NMQ-HYT”, for example, bears latent destruction, like the tide hollowing out a cave; the water now suspends particles of calcite. Make Me Know You Sweet
doesn’t bear the passively decorative sheen of inferior ambient. At times, it’s even manipulative. “IBX-BZC” pries, irritates, ensnares. (Anecdote: I paused the song to lend an ear to my partner, who was professing a panic attack over the phone - I couldn’t continue afterwards.) Yeesh.
The way the melodies disperse doesn’t help Leed’s music be any less elusive. “BBN-UWZ” darts through the air like a swarm of synthetic insects, not randomized but nonetheless fleeting. I’d hesitate to call Make Me Know You Sweet
relaxing, or comforting. It’s too attentive and symbiotic with the atmosphere, as though something loud and sudden could send it sprawling, or burst asunder. If Brian Leed placed something explosive - say, shattering glass or crunching metal - in the middle of “AAE-KZT”, it would be traumatizing. Granted, we’re talking ‘what-ifs’, but still. Anxiety looms. Amidst Make Me Know You Sweet
, a listener can find themselves somewhere between “I don’t want to go where I’m headed
” and “when something bad happens, I’d rather be anywhere but here.
" There they stand, at a loss.