After the club-friendly vibe of 2016's Rojus (Designed To Dance), and 2018's heady, conceptual Nothing Is Still, British DJ and producer Leon Vynehall's Rare, Forever serves as something of a compromise. It displays an affection for synth-laden ambience while also delivering uptempo grooves and cathartic, Overmono-esque bursts of energy, and the two are brought together with exceptional skill. The record opens with the relatively downtempo Ecce! Ego!, its muted, swinging beat and fluorescent lead reminiscent of Boards Of Canada's Roygbiv if it were remixed by Oneohtrix Point Never, before progressing to a spoken-word interlude punctuated by decaying slabs of sample.
Leon Vynehall loves a good story. Back in 2014, the UK artist's breakthrough mini-LP, Music for the Uninvited, was rooted in childhood memories of the mixtapes his mother used to play in the car, while 2016's Rojus drew parallels between a night of partying and the mating rituals of tropical birds. Two years later, he went fully conceptual with Nothing Is Still, a beautiful album that folded in elements of ambient and classical while recounting the tale of his grandparents' emigration to New York in the 1960s.
Leon Vynehall, a consistent one-to-watch among UK producers, has long been able to channel memory into music. His debut album Nothing Is Still chartered the story of his grandparents as they emigrated to New York in the 1960s, while Music for the Uninvited drew inspiration from the mixtapes his mother would play on the way to school. But upon hitting his milestone 30th birthday, Vynehall found himself to be the ultimate muse.
Rare, Forever is a skin-shedding.
Few can build worlds with their music quite like Leon Vynehall. Many possess the ability to transport a listener or dictate a mood, but only a small number can trigger true immersion like him. 'Rare, Forever' adds to his intoxicating discography, unlimited in scope and undoubtedly Vynehall's most ambitious yet, resulting in one of the year's most fascinating records.