Track: Leo Abrahams’ ‘Harm Organ’ refracts solo guitar through a hall of ‘tronica mirrors

Leo Abrahams

LONDON-based guitarist, composer and sonic manipulator Leo Abrahams has shared another track of out-six string journeying from next month’s album for figureight, Scene Memory II. it’s called “Harm Organ”, it’s a real hall of mirrors, and you can listen to it below.

An alumnus of Marylebone’s Royal Academy of Music, and besides being one half of Krononaut alongside jazz drummer Martin France, Leo’s worked with artists as varied as Eno and Pulp; as Grace Jones and Jon Hopkins; as Imogen Heap and Paul Simon – as well as five solo albums since 2005’s Honeytrap.

Last year’s album for figureight, Visitations, in pairing with label head honcho Shahzad Ismaily, was a fractured, post-nuclear blues, venturing to the very edge of the pocket: slurring, tense, dark and skeletal.

You have to say that comparing Visitations with Scene Memory II is the proverbial chalk and cheese; the new album sees Leo take his guitar and refract it through mirror after mirror of electronica post-processing, so that only in certain moments can you identify a guitar relatively unadorned; elsewhere it’s stretched and treated and rendered cyborgian. Imagine Vini Reilly remixed by Alva Noto, and you’re in the ballpark.

“The record grew out of an Ableton Live set that I built for a solo tour of Siberia in 2019,” Leo explains. “I wanted to create different sonic environments in which to improvise, generating a wide variety of sounds from a single guitar source while avoiding any looping or sequencing.

“I found the results were most inspiring when the patches had the ability to surprise me. I was seeking ambiguity and liminality in all areas: sound, genre and mood.

“A live concert was sometimes a challenging environment to explore these things, and the crowd was split every night; reactions ranged from rapt attentiveness from physics students, to outright anger from people who had been expecting ‘real’ guitar solos.

“All the pieces on the record have their seeds in that tour, but were improvised without an audience in my London studio.”

Leo Abrahams’ Scene Memory II will be released digitally by figureight on December 3rd, and may be pre-ordered from Bandcamp, here.

Connect with Leo on Instagram.

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