By the time we get to the penultimate track of Levon Vincent’s self-titled debut LP, the fatigue of the relentless monotony gets too much to bare any longer. The incessant snare beating on the same rhythm as the kick of The small whole number ratio, is the sum of all that preceded it. Even the variation of the 808 kick does little in the way of progress while the rest of the track wallows in the same restrictive key through the short melodic phrases perpetuated by the synthesised strings through some innocuous improvisation. It’s only at five minutes through that track that a new percussive phrase is introduced, but by that time it’s too late for the album to make amends. The strange thing is though, that this is really an unfair assessment of the track as a single entity. The simplistic melody and less-is-more rhythms has all the makings of a rapturous club track and could easily be accepted as such in the context of a 12” or EP, but the problem on Levon Vincent is that it offers no dichotomy from the beginning, the aptly titled start to the album. It was a novel idea at the start of the album as expressive melodies propel along through seventies inspired space aged synths in an abstract semiotic storyline. It works perfectly well as the start of the album, but the lack of form that it establishes is eventually installed as the foundation for the entire album.
The improvised motifs that Levon Vincent employs do little to deter from the inert functional basis of each song, giving the tracks a static tone though much of their existence. Even a song like Launch ramp to tha sky with its amiable synthesised marimba melodies does little to develop to its next stage, with that ever-present kick knocking in the background, consistently offering no variation. The melodies soon wear out the welcome and when the bridge eventually arrives at around eight minutes, it too drones on for far too long without deviation to constitute any real development from the track. The only time this approach works for the New York based DJ is when he adopts it to the club dance track. Like the penultimate track, Junkies on Hermann Straße makes for an entertaining change of pace from the tedium of the more tranquil tracks, and although it prescribes to the same unvarying formula, it works in the context of club music where development is mostly shunned for the functional consistency of the regular beat. It seems the Berghain bug has also bitten Mr.Vincent on this one. The laser-like synths and metallic percussive parts bring different textures to an album that mainly stays within the euphoric uplifting notions of the shallow reverberations of high frequencies. At times these are the only saving grace on the album. For mona, my beloved cat_Rest in piece should be considered the heart of the concept of the album. It’s a melodic realisation of an emotive state and I find this concurrent throughout the whole album. It gives the functional demand of the dance floor a very human element throughout and is also unfortunately also the demise of the album. I have mentioned this before on many previous reviews and I find it remains to be a trap for many artists delving into more expressive territory. Settling on a primal action in relaying an emotive disposition through artistic form is the realm of the self-indulgent and hardly ever offers the listener a way into the music. It is only when those initial ideas are refined to include a universal narrative that they truly make a concerted effort in drawing the listener in. The closest Levon Vincent got to this ideal was through Black arm w_Wolf. It’s the only time on the album where there is a clearly refined progression and the open-ended textures assist in creating an atmosphere of visceral contemplation rather than merely transcribing them into music.
It’s a difficult thing to do however, to maintain this level for a complete album and especially an album of this size; six discs. I appreciate the effort Levon Vincent put in to this work and there is certainly one or two tracks on the album that get close to achieving the ideal. I also realise this is quite a personal pursuit for the artist. The fact that he offered it as a free download, must suggest that he would like to share this personal endeavour with as many people as possible. Unfortunately much of the music doesn’t relay the same message, but I’m sure if re-evaluated and refined it could make a far more concise album. The concept is strong on Levon Vincent’s self-titled debut, but the execution is lacking.