His expressive patterns, motions and textures amount to multilayered ambience of disconcerting beauty. At once crowded and desolate, unhurried but also unsettled, his sonic architecture is a morning-after remedy of sluggish synth pads and furtively moving melodies.
Celebrated as one of the 2010s pioneers of the experimental, ‘outsider house’ sound, Eastern Kansas native Huerco S (Brian Leeds) first took an academic interest in installation art and ceramics before shifting gears to focus exclusively on DIY music production and oneiric sound design. Whether as Huerco S or aliases Pendant, Loidis or Royal Crown of Sweden, Leeds conscientiously uses low-end software, synths and cassettes to subvert the gloss of so much contemporary electronic music, giving tracks a hallucinatory and emotive feel. On Colonial Patterns (2013), his critically acclaimed debut LP, Leeds deconstructed Midwestern house and techno tropes, before turning contemplative for his next release. Huerco S’s game-changing ambient gem, Then For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), made Pitchfork’s 50 Best Ambient Albums Of All Time list. Last year, he launched ambient label West Mineral Ltd. with the ambition to “perfect the art of professional electronic music curation” with an album as Pendant.
A few years back, Leeds’ air travel anxiety led the producer to concoct his own no-frills ambient therapy, au unhurried sonic architecture of open spaces and otherworldly rhythmic pulses. Huerco S’s festival debut is a golden opportunity to take a literal chill pill. Lend an ear to the disconcerting beauty of foggy beats and malleable downtempo meditations.
West Mineral Ltd., Proibito, Software, Opal Tapes
Huerco S: For Those of You Who Have Never (and Also Those Who Have) (2016); Pendant: Make Me Know You Sweet (2018); Loidis: A Parade, In The Place I Sit, The Floating World (& All Its Pleasures) (2018)
Leeds draws from a number of non-musical influences, including Italian-American Paolo Soleri’s "arcology" concept (a fusion of architecture and ecology) and the Cahokia Mounds UNESCO World Heritage site in Illinois, an ancient Native American city considered the most complex archaeological site north of pre-Columbian Mexico