13.7.17. – Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston
I resigned from my proper job yesterday. It’s hard to quantify the mixed feelings of smugness toward my former colleagues to whom it hasn’t yet occurred to do the same, but also a tangible feeling of selfishness that I jumped ship during the darkest days faced by an underfunded education sector. Either way, the correct procedure would be to sink a few beers and watch a band. So I did, deciding upon Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston.
Proceedings tonight were kicked off by Edinburgh native Yann Seznec, who performed a treated electronic set centred around a mixer made from a box and bits of string, which acted as a hub between a laptop, sequencer, and some modest pyrotechnics. It was probably danceable but mainly struck me as sonically exploratory, with each new home-made element shaping or contorting the sound in a very sensory way. It was the perfect warmup for south London four-piece Leyendekker, who were on next.
Live, I wasn’t sure Leyendekker would translate particularly well from the record; yet, they managed to completely transcend the studio versions of both tracks I’d heard. Each band member commanded an array of equipment to extend their base instrument, though this was used tastefully and in a confidently synchronised manner; one wonders how many hours have been spent in cramped rehearsal rooms perfecting this stuff. While at times it drifted into Faust territory, underpinned by ever-shifting drum machine loops and swirling drones, in isolation the songs themselves were strong. Singer/guitarist Calum Duncan’s shimmering vocals sat above a thick aural wash, punctuated by some of the most visually exciting drumming I’ve seen; Jonny Coote sat poised like a mantis, sticks blurred with impossible precision and power. To the left and right stood an array of keyboards and other analogue devices which rose and fell in gentle unison, with no laptop in sight.
Perhaps the closest musical reference point is Floating Points, though Leyendekker are clearly carving their own thread indelibly tinged by motorik, electronic and indie influences, which often led them to different places entirely. While they could perhaps be accused of a certain amount of meandering – not coming to an explosive head with any particular regularity – nobody present seemed to mind, and for me the calculated hypnotism was largely what made the set a success. You’d do well to catch them soon.
Leyendekker play Deep South Music and Arts Festival this September.