Leng have attempted an almost impossible task – to compile a representative cross-section of their 10 years in musical business. A tall order given their 70 odd releases to date, but they’ve given it a damn good shot. Temporally, the sequencing of the selections is all over the place – bouncing back and forth from 2020 to 2010 – the flow between them nonetheless proving that the label for sure has a defined sound. Although I`d be hard pushed to describe it succinctly (see below). Everything on offer is polished, smooth and uncluttered.
The previously unreleased instrumental mix of Harks & Mudd`s Susta struts its stuff like a slo-mo, loved-up, italo remake of Rufus & Chaka Khan`s Ain`t Nobody. With an aphrodisiac ass-moving bottom-end and a nod to Knuckles, Kupper, and Morales` Def Mixes in the gloriously orchestrated strings and keys. Fernando updates the JA-dub influenced boogie blueprint laid down by Francois Kevorkian`s ground-breaking 80s remixes – with Blue Impala`s disco disorientated by avant-guitar atmospherics – wah-wah-ed and echoed effects. A Spanish flourish for a finale. San Francisco`s 40 Thieves are similarly dubbed out. Popping and locking to a percolating rhythm devil, while throwing angular axe hero shapes. Sending Backwards Love`s shredding spinning – suitably – in reverse, to create a darker, sleazy jam. The Idjut Boy`s epic 10 minute version of Mountaineer`s Golden Chalk counters its acoustic elements – strum, tambourine, and pedal steel – with wonderfully warped sub-bass. The LFO pumping, and sucking, like a reductionist vamp on drum and bass.
On Luna, Turkey`s Ali Kuru`s zither stomps to a souped up “indian rock” loop. The results simultaneously chugging and chunky, haunting and hypnotic. Bongos and Sci-Fi squiggles surround Mushrooms Project`s Hello Darling, where a sampled flirtatious rasta suggests you “fasten your seat belt already” – right before rockabilly riff-ola initiates lift-off. Cole Odin`s Numbers Game is a kind of post-punk-funk electro upgrade. With Beastie Boy-esque shouts, and a just nasty, growling snarl of a b-line – lining listeners / dancers up for Tiago`s even filthier, The Source. Mudd`s Slow Rave Mix of which is a funky AM trip, sweet-talked, romanced and then screwed out of Roland`s sleek silver box. These dirty tricks in direct contrast with Pete Herbert`s bright, buoyant rework of Apiento & Co.`s She Walks. A Euro-disco dance floor score for camp special agent men everywhere, with a big, big banging Joanna – which set the template for countless contemporary cuts. Max Essa`s take on Cantoma`s Northshore is equally Euro-tastic. Cod skanking in a Carly Simon meets Chic fashion. Providing a tribal foundation for ethereal sighs and fluttering flutes. Harvey Couture’s Les Portes De La Perception is clanking, cosmic, synth pop. Lex` DF Bounce is a slick future fusion of vibes runs and cool, classy keys.
All of this could only ever be a “taste” of Leng Records – though as it is for your buck you’ll receive a double-LP and a bonus 10”. Looking back at my own purchases from the label a lot my spend seems to be down to Phil Mison – his Out Of Town LP – which contains my favourite Cantoma track, Vuisu – the remixes by Lexx and Cosmo, and Phil`s brilliant Out Of The Blue compilation. I keep coming back again and again to tunes like Kamasutra`s Sugar Step, and Congarilla`s Sacred Tree. Leng also have those amazing Psychemagik collections – Cyrcles, Sunrises and Sunsets – digging up dusty diamonds like Jack Adkins and John Keating – plus the duo’s dynamite rejig of Yves Simon`s Au Pays Des Merveilles Du Juliet. Payfone don’t take any prisoners either, and I’m a confirmed fan of Earthboogie. If you want a window on what’s really happening on the White Isle, well then there`s Pippi & Willie (Graff). Since Leng, and parental imprint Claremont 56, were super early Bandcamp advocates, all of this back catalogue is up there for your perusal. You’ll also be further tempted by a ton of Bandcamp and subscriber exclusives.