What does Sing Leaf sound like?
Existential dread as drones and soundscapes mixed with barren folk songs.
The review of Sing Leaf – Remote Motel
In order to get into the right headspace for ‘Remote Motel’ I had to understand where David Como aka Sing Leaf was coming from. Having moved from Toronto to secluded Madoc, Ontario, David moved into a 140-year-old house. David explains that the town lies at ‘The Canadian Shield’ where bedrock is close to the surface. They blast it with dynamite to lay roads and to get anywhere you are driving through swampy blast craters.
Keeping that in mind, the slow, dark, moody and uneasy descent into murky drones feels fitting. ‘Remote Motel’ is a peculiar release because it flips between long ambient drone tracks and shorter acoustic guitar folk songs that are over-saturated with reverb. As a performance piece, each time a folk song pops up, you realise how far removed from civilisation the drones have taken you. The drones themselves sound and feel malevolent. They growl, hiss and lightly jingle as if conjuring spirits in the dark.
The stand-out tracks are ‘Highway Breath Control’ and ‘Blizzard Island’ because they hold such a taut yet hollow space. You could use them for horror or thriller soundtracks easily and ratchet up the tension. I didn’t find any of it numbing, only discombobulating. More confused for me was the tone of the closing track ‘Green Light Red’. Whilst still in keeping with the ethereal folk tone, it has a jaunty country fair final minute that sounds very out of place. I was in the mood to wallow in the swamp yet this perky number through me for six.
Fans of drone music and dark ambient will enjoy ‘Remote Motel’. It certainly has a vibe to it that stands out from the crowd. Whilst the album has a purposely inconsistent tone and not everything landed for me, I could see this translating well to a captivating live show for fans of moody sound design.
Recommended track: Highway Breath Control
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