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On Deck: Huerco S.

By ; September 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM 

Huerco S_1

Prolific Kansas City producer Brian Leeds (aka Huerco S.) has released countless albums for various cassette and micro-labels over the last few years.  Employing a minimalist electronic aesthetic, he composes stark – though irrevocably beautiful – stretches of static noise and deceptively simple rhythms. Having recently signed to the Mexican Summer-imprint Software, Leeds has just released his debut LP, Colonial Patterns, for the Brooklyn-based label.  To listen to Leeds’ work, it seems that Huerco S. is his outlet for pulling sounds apart and skillfully reconstructing them – or simply letting them play out within the resulting unstable arrangements.  Leeds knows well enough that to allow these sounds and rhythms autonomy would result in their complete dissolution, but he also knows that it would be just as detrimental to try to fasten some sort of preconceived frame around them.  And so he provides the deft touch needed resulting in the formation of the loosely connected – though thematically resonant – songs that haunt his entire discography and his recent work in particular.

Leeds sat down with Beats Per Minute recently to discuss some of the records which have helped to influence the direction of his own music.  From the dense distortion-laden rhythms of Loveless by My Bloody Valentine to the post-disco new wave ambience of Arthur Russell, Leeds sets about detailing the multi-layered influences which led him to begin recording music in the first place.  He also digs into the more prevalent abstract electronic field – Arthur Russell notwithstanding – that the majority of his songs call home.  He also speaks affectionately about albums by downtempo house music architect Jochen Peteri (better known as Newworldaquarium) and more recent discoveries from artists such as Oneohtrix Point Never and Jon Hassell.  It’s interesting to hear Leeds talk about these records and their sway as it becomes a game of spot-the-influence when you listen to his music.  Now, his records are by no means defined by these specific influences, but it is fascinating to see how he has reconstituted some of their base forms into something wholly his own and remarkably unforgettable.  Read his full list below in the latest installment of our On Deck series.

my bloody valentine loveless
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

Bliss, that’s what this album is for me. Loveless is an album I go back to over and over again and yet I still discover new parts of the songs. A wall of sound just being jammed right into your ears, fucking heaven. I think what I’ve taken most from this album is its textural qualities. Instead of guitars, I’m using samples and synths. Sometimes I think about an alternate reality where Kevin Shields picks up a Poly 800 and a LinnDrum…maybe that’s what I’m trying to accomplish.

Newworldaquarium - Dead Bears
Newworldaquarium – Dead Bears

Jochem Peteri knows how to groove; Layer after every layer just washing over you like some inescapable tide dragging you out into the depths. Once again repetition and minimalism really does it for me. NWAQ is a master of hypnotism and all things deep. Dead Bears chugs along at sluggish tempos not usually considered fit for house music. His approach to allow the groove to build slowly and organically has had a lasting impact on my music.

Jon Hassell - Aka Darbari Java (Magic Realism)
Jon Hassell – Aka Darbari Java (Magic Realism)

Infusing the ancient with the modern. Having only discovered Jon Hassell within the last two years, his music has left a lasting impression on me and my most recent work, Colonial Patterns. His truly other-worldly music in my mind is unparalleled in it’s structural freedom and inclusiveness. Historical context plays a huge role in Jon’s music, and as most modern dance producers continues to recycle tropes from the 80s and 90s, Jon has opened my eyes to history that has long been forgotten or possibly a history not yet written.

Oneohtrix Point Never - Rifts
Oneohtrix Point Never – Rifts

The Software boss man running things, an obvious choice. This album, along with a lot of Dan’s earlier work, reminds me that simplicity is king. I’m pretty sure this was made entirely using just one Juno synth, and yet he created such a diverse range of sound and feeling. I feel like a lot of my synth work is heavily influenced by Dan. It’s been a real honor to work with a personal hero and modern synth auteur.

Arthur Russell - Calling Out of Context
Arthur Russell – Calling Out of Context

This compilation rounds up all the Arthur Russell hits. A true master, Arthur manages to create these jangly pop songs full of longing and melancholy while still retaining these very experimental qualities. He was truly ahead of his time, as the majority of these songs play out more like a future soundtrack to a love story than anything from the 80s. Such a shame the man died way before his time.

The latest album from Huerco S., Colonial Patterns, is out now on Software Records. 

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