Review Summary: Commune is as much tangible art as it is impressionistic abstraction. Blending the evocative knock of outsider ambient house/techno, and the fleeting emotional experience of modern classical. Balancing the feel and the after-image of his home city of Sing
The aesthetics of a musical project are difficult to cultivate. Corrupting them can make your world feel fragile, and a failure to create one will most certainly impede any artists' attempts to foster immersion. A musical project in it’s ideal state is something you can sink into, and even a cursory scroll across an artist’s instagram feed should evoke that sensation. You might know the feeling of having an artist’s face or look tinge your appreciation of their work, it’s unavoidable. The look of old and weathered indie rock bores attached to music which is supposed to be lively and vibrant. No matter the nature or quality of the music, your ideal has been altered. That’s music branding 101 though, and “branding” is the death of art. Kin Leonn has fostered a brand of minuscule gestures and sideways glances purely by providence, since good art makes a good brand without effort.
His debut album Commune is an experience of culture and synesthesia. The rustic painterly greys of it’s cover, and the images of the music itself. A bleeding between ideas and senses. Grainy Singapore streets and longing nights cast in synthetic light. Images which are in part true to the nature of Singapore and London, but also fantasies, inclinations of the mind clinging to an emotional idea of what those cities represent. Schematic notions of what those cities are to ourselves. Drawing parallels between London’s underground experimental scene and the effervescent films of Eric Khoo (famed Singapore directors) as both concrete objects and certainties, but also as abstractions. A gliding between cinematic modern classical, and the knocking claustrophobia of Boiler Room beats. The music is a wonder, something impressionist and decadent that never feels over-composed or artificial despite it's driving rhythms and effected string patterns. A contribution to the growing world of electronic music which pursues more tangible electronic palletes and ambient textures, placing Kin's name among artists Huerco S. and Leon Vynehall.
As much as Commune feels like prescient music, intersecting the growing worlds of outsider electronic and the post-Winged Victory For The Sullen modern classical, it also feels wholly contained within itself. It is an evocation of a specific space which, despite similarities to existing ones, never fails throughout its entire track-list to feel singular. In the close-knit world of progressive ambient music, it has gone unnoticed and dreadfully overlooked, but it is one of the most evocative ambient albums in recent memory.