Boomkat Product Review:
Brisbane's Leighton Craig has been experimenting with solo keyboard and synthesizer music since the mid-'90s but 11 Easy Pieces marks his first widely available solo album. Apparently these compositions were all recorded at Craig's kitchen table, direct to cassette, later to be warmed up by tube equipment during the mastering process. Craig's preferred instruments are the Casio MT-40 (the circuit-benders choice), and a host of other lo-fi, outmoded Casio and Yamaha products. Despite his kooked out arsenal of synths, Craig manages to sculpt some genuinely beautiful passages of music on 11 Easy Pieces, shifting between languid, droning warmth and more esoteric, bloopy sequences. Craig is clearly influenced by the likes of Klaus Schultze, and you could draw comparisons between his work and the krautrock-informed solo synth outings of Smalltown Supersound's Arp. Unhelpfully, Craig adorns the liner notes with statements like "No keyboards were harmed during the making of this album" and "'Threnody' recorded during the invasion of Iraq", in the latter case without making clear why he's drawing that fact to our attention. The piece in question sounds a bit bleak, so presumably therein lies the connection to the two events - in fact, the droning ten minute piece is something of a highlight on the disc, so you can easily forgive him the textual indiscretions. Another one of those excellent ambient solo synth albums that's sure to be a hit with those of you who were bewitched by J.D. Emmanuel's Wizards LP reissue last year, and thanks to his unusual source instruments, Craig's found a sound that's very much his own. Highly Recommended.