If you have been paying any attention to Josh L. Evans or JLE then you may have realized the stylistic change that has been occurring with his work. His first couple of releases like Purgatory and Andromeda contained long twenty to thirty minute minimal ambient pieces that contained little to no percussion. They took an almost Zen-like patience to appreciate since the changes were so subtle that you may have missed them if you weren't paying attention.
When Evans released Sweater Music in November we saw some real changes taking places. The songs were shorter; the album contained percussive, rhythmic elements; there were a lot of layers of music and a lot more was happening. I was reminded of Four Tet and Oneohtrix Point Never at times. His latest Lion Says Dance delves further into percussive territory this time with an unequivocal affinity towards hip-hop production and even dubstep. The two artists that came to mind this time were Prefuse 73 and Burial.
Evans’ songs are the most bass heavy they have ever been and also the most concise. These are songs, which could easily be played at one of the hippest clubs in the city or enjoyed by at a small house party for those who have an appreciation for the avant-garde.
The album starts out with a solid opener “Summer” which takes its time adding more layers. Evans lets you feast on each progression long enough before adding more depth and detail into the mix. “Fall” utilizes a dry sounding drum kit while “Winter” revolves around arpeggiated synths that get twisted and turned before your ears. I was thoroughly enjoying the white noise, which overlaps with layers of percussion on “Final Boss (game over) that reminded me of Ben Frost. The most overt hip-hop inspired tracks are the next two - “Dreadnaut” and “Victory.”
Evans closes with “The Gods' Gift Of Death (The Lion Says Dance)” which sounds like a more refined and advanced version of some of the work we heard from his earlier work. It is atmospheric, tranquil and alien all at the same time. A very high note for him to leave out on.
Lion Says Dance is Evans’ best work so far. Recommended
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