Boomkat Product Review:
Larry Heard’s landmark debut album, proper, back in orbit for deep house fiends who’ve rinsed originals to bits, or new cats in need of a life upgrade
‘Sceneries Not Songs, Volume 1’ was first issued in 1994 on Heard’s Alleviated Records, some five years since his other landmark as Mr. Fingers, ‘Amnesia’ (1989). As the title implies, there are no vocal house anthems, as Heard took the opportunity to really indulge his jazziest side with supremely lush results distinguished by his silkiest keyboard chops and the plushest grooves, primed for transitioning from club to bedroom. As with his mid-late ‘80s classics, this album would also set the tone for successive waves of deep house artists, as likewise that sound’s refraction into strains of beatdown, broken beats and new age ambient house that would soundtrack the proceeding decades.
Dripping with debonaire cool, the nine parts toggle the tempo between strident deep house on opener ‘Dolphin Dream’ or the velvety sashay of ‘Midnight Movement’ to the winking, mid-tempo triplet shimmy of ‘Question of Time’, via lilting downstrokes of reggae-tinged beatdown on ‘Caribbean Coast’, and the shuffling frisson of oily, fretless bass emulation and icy FM synthesis in ’Snowcaps’ and the elegant glyde evoked in ’Tahiti Dusk’. Trust with certainty this is a masterclass of in-the-pocket moods and grooves, and a peerless bridge between modes of new age, ambient, jazz and machine music.