Leonis is an artist who isn't satisfied expressing his creativity in one medium. He explores his potential with street-art, video, collage and music. The concept of a collage carries through his music as you listen to his album Toboggan. A majority of the music is rooted in hip-hop but the sounds and textures come from disparate sources that meld together forming unique and original soundscapes.
Throughout Leonis tips his hat to a couple of artists from the late 90’s and early 00’s such as DJ Shadow, Prefuse 73 and RJD2. Fans of these artists will want to jump on this right away as Leonis quickly establishes his own wavelength of creativity that speaks for itself.
“Baragon vs. Rodan” is the first song in the album and demonstrates Leonis’ ability to mix different elements you wouldn't necessarily think would go together but when they do it works in wonderful ways. The song has a relaxed, chill vibe but it also has a slight hypnotic, almost ominous atmosphere to it. He combines a looped piano, bleeps, synths, samples and what sounds like a manipulated sample of a cat meowing. I know it sounds a bit odd on paper but the sounds work together incredibly well and it is a good start to an album that continues to deliver.
The title track “Toboggan” is about two minutes of warbly synths, theremin, guitar and other samples meshing together while “After Hold-Up” has an eerie Twin Peaks jazzy feel to it that is straight up money. For the bohemians, artists and beatniks hanging around in the artist lounge at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night this might be the track that is playing.
One of the highlights on the album is “Notilus,” which utilizes a wonderful orchestral sample that makes it sound as if Leonis is playing a cloud, or you are watching a cloud. I’m not sure but there is a lightness to the song that makes your worries go away. The album ends with “Terminus Uranus,” which is the longest track as on the album. Leonis ends by doing what he does best which is making a concoction on sounds that tantalize your ears.
There have been quite a few artists who attempt this type of music and unfortunately can't make it work. Leonis on the other hand has the innate ability to merge a circus of sounds into a cohesive statement.
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