You could call Huerco S.’s second album a retreat, but it’s far from a regression. On his follow-up to 2013’s Colonial Patterns, the Kansas-born, NYC-based producer (real name Brian Leeds) moves forward by pulling back. His music has always been murky and mysterious, burying beats under layers of thick atmosphere. But the atmosphere is noticeably thicker on For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), to the point where some tracks have no discernible beat at all.
A sharp sense of rhythm and pace still courses through Leeds’ arrangements, keeping them in motion even when the sounds are simply floating along. On songs like “Lifeblood (Naïve Melody)” and “Promises Of Fertility,” ghosts of rhythm lurk in the distance, controlling Leeds’ sonic waves from afar like the moon affecting the tides. In others, a percussive pulse rides alongside rumbling bass and echoing synths, steering the ship but never dominating the journey. “Kraanvogel” sounds like a rave at the bottom of the sea.
You’d think all this depth would darken Leeds’ music, but there’s a lot of brightness in For Those Of You, making it sound hopeful, even romantic. The album opens with a gentle mood piece called “A Sea Of Love,” and concludes with a chiming nursery rhyme titled “The Sacred Dance.” Most tracks in between exude the calm comfort of a pleasant dream. There’s still tension in these songs—as in any dream, the unexpected happens—but each tune unfurls with patient, soothing confidence.
Most impressive is the way Leeds instills his calm tone into so many different sounds. You can feel his steadying hand in every molecule of the music, and there’s a wide range of chemical reactions inside each track. That was true of Colonial Patterns, too, as well as the EP’s he’s made since, which hinted at the subtler direction he’s taken here. But For Those Of You stands apart as a significant step up in Leeds’ journey to carve out and master his own musical form.