Written as an elegy for his late father, Francis Harris’s Leland has all the groove you’d expect from a dance record with the intimacy of something extremely personal. Harris, who’s released numerous recordings under the alias Adultnapper, lends his real name to this project — an hour-plus long voyage through grief and somber hope.
Mood is everything on Leland. Harris takes dance conventions (hypnotic rhythms and intense tones) and combines them with saccharine nuances to create an album of late-night electronic music. Subtle thumper “Pensum” leads by example with pulsating bass trudge and solemn trumpet din. It sounds like The xx, Aphex Twin, and a soulful trumpeter all on stage at a smoky underground jazz joint at midnight.
Danish singer Gry contributes vocals to lead single “Lostfound,” which she opens by saying: “Late in the night when the darkness is deep/Come to my home, let me offer you tea.” Delivered over a backbeat of stuttering claps, the sentiment is both comforting and sensual as you picture a quaint apartment safe from the dizzying spell of the night rainstorm.
As an ode to the man who was one-half responsible for giving him life, Leland holds up remarkably well. All the uncertainty and vacillation in these ominous tones clearly signify a requiem, but Harris also succeeds in the hardest task — forging his thoughts into pleasant, rewarding music.
(Scissor & Thread, no mailing address given)