Boomkat Product Review:
It’s safe to say that Steven Legget has been somewhat measured in his approach to releasing music. The Newcastle native was behind the Four Hands moniker, with releases alongside iconic industrial figures Zoviet France on Signals From The North and the classic ‘Hizou’ on Claremont 56 back at the turn of the decade.
Steve Leggett pays tribute to one of the last functioning civil saunas in the UK, Newcastle’s Turkish Baths, with an immersive suite of cello, electronics and field recordings layered and arranged to reflect the woozy, slow motion, drug free endorphin rush of the bath house
Stemming from a live performance given by Leggett at the Turkish Baths, the results were edited and recombined with recordings made on location in the islands of Paxos and Loutro, South Crete to create a timeless air of luxurious ambient tranquility that seemingly turns the new age introspection of an isolation tank into a shared experience.
The sauna here is taken in a broader cultural context reflective of how it relates to Newcastle and its fertile rhizome of experimental musicians. On one level, the sauna can be taken as a metaphorical, exotic oasis of calm in the cold, hardworking and hard-playing North Eastern English city, and, on an related tip, it roots back into the city’s long-standing home as port to a rich mosaic of North and East African, Arabic and Middle-Eastern cultures, as well as outward-looking artists such as Zoviet*France, with whom Leggett has previously shared vinyl space.
As each tracks blushes its convective layers of strings and electronics, the results become only stronger thru acknowledging their provenance, and the whole project beautifully comes together as a swirling testament to the blend of idiosyncrasy and open-minded, folk-wise nature and timelessness of music from this region.