Boomkat Product Review:
Portland duo Danielle Davis and Steven Whiteley combine modular bleeps with sounds from trumpet, piano and harmonium on their billowing debut. Think Japanese ambient (Hiroshi Yoshimura et al) with a hint of Emeralds, Golden Retriever or Bee Mask.
Davis and Whiteley assembled Liila after they met at a Zen Buddhist monastery, so it's hardly surprising that their debut album is somewhat meditative. The two share a fascination with deep listening, and they explore this interest here by inhabiting a heady world of swirling synth pads, sparse rhythms and brain-tickling psychedelic effects.
At its best, the music mirrors the exceptional, frozen Japanese ambient realm that has soared in popularity over the last decade. Opener 'Appa Wu Wei' sounds almost like electrified gamelan, and 'Not One Not Two' winningly combines subtle piano and mindbendingly altered field recordings. But it's closing track 'Silent Illuminating' that works best, blurring the elements into a dissociated slop of bouncing strings and faded memories.