Vancouver resident LNRDCROY’s cassette of lightly cosmic electronica has been a while coming, but this hour-long collection of crystalline, memory-drenched tracks couldn’t come at a more perfect time as British Columbia transitions into Spring. “Much Less Normal” is Leon Campbell’s impressions of the city and surrounding natural environs, built with subtle synth pads from a hefty stack of old Roland and Yamaha gear; warm, obliquely contemplative keyboard ambience and ascending, inquisitive Roland JV-1080 and JD-800 melodies backed by Yamaha drum sequences and MPC-driven movements. As much about yearning for a better place as trying to extract the best feeling from a certain scenario, neighborhood or image, LNRDCROY’s encyclopaedic knowledge (and deep YouTube chan) of ambient techno and 90s Euphoria serves as much of a memory bank as the physical British Columbian nostalgia. LNRDCROY’s forum-dwelling, truly fantasist dome is loaded just as much with ultra vivid imagery of cloud-covered islands, overcast Vancouver days, bustling Chinatown streets as ancient Aphex fragments as it is early trance, classic ambient techno and Pacific Northwestern visionaries of decades past (ie. Stellar Sofa, Pilgrims of the Mind, Outersanctum). Major feelings of safety roll off a downbeat track like “Land, Repair, Refuel” and expansive, overcast ambient drifters like “Now I’m In Love” express a similar warmth and skewed sense of aliveness. One things for sure, each moment must be a journey, even the insanely funky, rolling groove of “Sunrise Market” and the jumped up over-shoulder look to dusty, almost there rave signifiers that is “Slam City Jam”. The sensation of space, attention to texture and generally deft abilities to articulate a physical zone suggest this is the work of a true head, though one very much in outside world as much as studio/imagination. The dreamlike borderlands of “Much Less Normal”s cross genre experiences are divided by nowness, naiveity and deep appreciation.
It would be fair to say that Firecracker offshoot Unthank is a little underrated. The 10″ series, which variously focuses on experimental deep house and curious downtempo explorations, has previously showcased superb work from Vakula, Inkswel, Booshank and Lord of the Isles, amongst others. Here, Vancouver’s LNRDCRY gets in on the act, opening with a wondrous chunk of horizontal ambience – think dreamy, new age chords, throbbing bass and far-out textures – before delivering a suitably saucer-eyed slice of beatless positivity. The dancefloor’s not completely ignored, of course, and the EP’s final missive is an intense romp through analogue acid blessed, of course, with LNRDCRY’s usual impeccably atmospheric chords.