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Double Leopards - Out of One, Through One and To One

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Artist: Double Leopards

Album: Out of One, Through One and To One

Label: Eclipse

Review date: Oct. 3, 2005

To find a more apt title for this record would be all but impossible, as this is the most unified DL album to date. No one needs to be told that NY’s Double Leopards have mastered the drone, but here they redefine and recontextualize it, giving it new life and a single-mindedness of purpose that can be soothing, terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

This offering, one of several group projects this year, further hones established skills to absolutely mesmerizing effect. It is fair to say that the DL trademark drone is often simultaneously rhythmic and arrhythmic. Like late Trane, it lives comfortably in both worlds, rendering the group name appropriate for the overall sound. Halve Maen, the group’s masterpiece, clattered, buzzed, melted and throbbed with jungle and industry, the pairing never seeming incongruous and the drone always present just behind any foregrounded texture. Now, all that’s left is drone – all-encompassing drone – from the lowest rumble to a sound so high it can be felt with the eyes and face, penetrating my listening space with three-dimensional clarity.

Each of the two side-long nameless tracks on this LP are one huge slab of soft but powerful trance-induction. Like Theater of Eternal Music of the early 1960s, the drone is the message, but where La Monte Young, John Cale and company sometimes employed awkward microtonal changes to create an ephemeral sense of motion, DL has refined the effect. Like any good orchestral playing, the ensemble sound is unbelievably focused and each minute transition is well-executed. Even DL side projects, such as Hototogisu or the peripherally related Sunroof never sounded like this. Hototogisu’s volume and brute force sets them apart, and Sunroof often has rhythm at its heart. Somehow, it seems that this is the ideal Double Leopards piece, the sound they’ve been looking for from the beginning. What next?

By Marc Medwin

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