Album of the month
Levon Vincent 'For Paris' (Novel Sound)
Everyone’s allowed to make mistakes. But not on the internet – anyone who makes an off-colour or ignorant remark is slaughtered. It’s an unhelpful side of online life more focused on vitriol than virtue, but one that Levon Vincent has used for good. After claiming in the wake of last November’s Paris attacks that “victims need to arm themselves”, he understandably got his fair share of abuse. It prompted him to go on “a reading spree ... to develop a bigger world view”. He claims he later “cried”, “had an epiphany” and decided to embrace his new understanding of peace with this free-to-download LP, ‘For Paris’ (vinyl is being released as a five-part set, with the first record dropping in January 2018, then one every month after that until May).
With track titles including‘Slander is Terrible’, ‘Hope For New Global Peace’ and ‘If We Chose War,’ it’s a conceptual work that, to the cynic, might seem hippy-dippy. In reality, if more artists stuck their neck out and spread political messages listeners may not have been exposed to, it would only be positive. Of course, there are ways of doing so, and in this case, it helps that the songs themselves aren’t too preachy or evangelical. Instead, various moods permeate the music, ranging from the impending doom of the marching ‘Baseball’ to an end-of-the-world finality on ‘If We Chose War’, via cautious optimism on ‘Kissing’. It’s a scintillating album of deep, rolling drums and glassy melodies that make use of Steve Reich’s phasing technique to evolve in minimal but moving ways. There’s a new-age wash to some tracks that’s a bit too Enya-like for comfort, but this is an emotionally resonant LP that speaks of artistic, as well as personal, development. Kristan J Caryl