Album Review: Leon Vynehall – Rare, Forever

When the world stops, there are certain artists it is good to have music from and Leon Vynehall is one. His music dexterously navigates a line between a relaxing, at-home experience and danceable rhythms that work well for his DJ sets. That blend is at the fore with his new album Rare, Forever, which carries on a similar sonic plane as his 2018 album Nothing Is Still.

Vynehall’s DJ-Kicks was instructive in helping to add a little more dancefloor vigor to Rare, Forever, which you can feel in your bones from the outset of the album. The opener, “Ecce! Ego!” which literally translates from Latin to 'Behold! Me!' has the cosmic, whirring synth work reminiscent of early Com Truise. “Mothra” is where the intricate drum work comes into play.

After a softer, alto sax led tune “Alichea Vella Amor,” it is time to dance again with “Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been” in what is one of his most upbeat tunes ever using grinding bass that flies across your speakers. The album finds a balance between the dancefloor and the slower ambient tracks help set them up like a Gary Payton to Shawn Kemp alley oop – one does not work without the other.

“An Exhale” is slow, rising, and builds through the entire track like a long exhale after reaching the peak of a large mountain with flat, washed out synths that flows into the fun and extremely danceable “Dumbo” that stands on its own as a unique record from Vynehall. “I wanted to put this on to serve as a reminder that these experiences are like saging yourself, and can be really fucking fun!” Vynehall says.

"Farewell! Magnus Gabbro” is dark blend of noise, ambient and neo-classical that brings you back to the floor. The album eventually comes to its calming conclusion with the closer ‘All I See Is You, Velvet Brown,” which brings back the soft, cooing saxophone on “Alichea Vella Amor." It highlights this character “Velvet," which is interwoven on the album that as Vynehall sort of describes as, “Is Velvet a person, or a thought? Human or metaphor?”

Vynehall creates another riveting world for the listener to immerse themself into with Rare, Forever. There is incredible balance throughout, while still exploring fun, joyous house music and dark, ambient records. Small themes pop up here and there to tie it all together in the album format, which suits his music perfectly. Pick up your copy of the album here via Ninja Tune.