Like Weather

Collected Works: Music


Like Weather

by Leila

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A faint buzz rises to the surface, unfolding a descending minor triad, which is restated over and over. The highest of the riff’s three notes rings and lingers a little, as a humming drone continues beneath. A brief chirrup appears twenty seconds in, but vanishes just as quickly, leaving space for a chiming tune to slice through the texture. After the warbling later returns with a tentative response, the two melodies wash over each other, bubbling with activity within a tide of subaquatic-sounding noises.

The erratic currents of ‘Underwaters (One for Keni)’ typify the blurred soundworlds of Like Weather. Though the album’s thirteen electronic pieces are varied, they rarely float far from that track’s fascination with the enchanting and the disconcerting. On ‘Space, Love’, for example, metallic clatters and rubbery scrapes form a stifling evocation of heavy machinery. When a series of shimmering phrases emerge, first simulated then performed on violin, the claustrophobia is transformed into awe.

Leila’s tendency towards combative production extends to the songs that feature vocalists, on which she seems to act more as an antagonist than an accompanist. The soloist on the menacing ‘Blue Grace’ audibly strains to rise above the abrasive bassline, unremitting beats, and dissonant horn tones. The previous cut, ‘Feeling’, in contrast, employs a simple, inconsistent drum loop and sparse synths. Rather than being crowded out, the soulful, slightly shaky harmonies here sound isolated and exposed.

Elsewhere, Leila subjects her collaborators to digital manipulation. The singer on ‘Don’t Fall Asleep’ is woozily paired with a pitch-shifted version of himself, with the lyrics adding to the dizzying effect: ‘Slip and slide / Move a little to the side’. That couplet could easily apply to the album in its entirety. As Leila experiments and tests out techniques, her music flows capriciously from one mood to another. On Like Weather, she leaves us, unanchored, to drift through the choppy expanse in her wake.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Read an article by Leila Arab for The Creators Project about collaborating with Björk here, and an interview with Leila by Alexandra Savvides for Cyclic Defrost here. Listen to ‘Underwaters (One for Keni)’, ‘Space, Love’, ‘Blue Grace’, ‘Feeling’, and ‘Don’t Fall Asleep’.

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