Boomkat Product Review:
Deep house and techno auteur Levon Vincent dons Michael Mann-esque cinematic goggles for ’Silent City’, a panoramic mixtape-like collection of downbeat expressions that swap out muscle Mary momentum for sensuality and futurist synth gleam
Effectively Levon’s reflection on grief and love, the 10-track session’s tack toward bass-heavy beatdown and dubbed-out slow/fast rhythms is primed for the after-afters and cruising the metropolis by night. Echoing the starkest, introspective strains of Urban Tribe’s Stingray or Kemetrix, and the brooding might of Andy Stott or Justin K. Broderick’s Final, it’s best defined by a sense of staunchly old skool NYC ruggedness and yoked synth-pop emotion; all streaking halogen light bouncing off glass, rats scurrying around your Timberlands in streets strewn with junkies and zombies as you live out a noir, near-apocalyptic fantasy that’s uncannily close to reality.
To drop a reference that scant few will get (less than a handful, of which we are a smug one, according to Discogs), it bares traces of Levon’s one-off 2004 album as Pop Culture in its embrace of non-techno structures and tones that hew to his roots in NYC synth-pop and electro. It also relates directly to his formative musical studies of NYC’s influential avant-garde minimalism in its singular palette of non-standard tunings, which are responsible for the fine spectrum of feels evoked across the trip from ‘Everlasting Joy’ to the sublimated stepper ’Sunset’.
Taking the full, durational opportunity of the tape format, Levon conjures 78 minutes of heart-on-sleeve moods & grooves. There’s a clear nod to emosh New Order in his mesh of trilling drill triplets and stately keys on ‘Gattaca’ or the nervy-tweaking electro of ’Tigers’, and echoes Tangerine Dream themes for Michael Mann flicks in the synthy promise of ’Sunrise’ and perhaps more Johnny Jewel-esque in Wolves’, with a key vein of bad-minded synth grunge on ‘Birds’ and wickedly suppressed in the knife-edge tension to ‘Moonlight’. Evidently it’s not what anyone might have predicted from Levon, but, all the same, a strong and refreshing addition to his singular oeuvre.