Leon Vynehall Nothing Is Still Ninja Tune
Leon Vynehall is nothing if not sentimental. His 2014 breakout LP Music For the Uninvited originated from the hip-hop, funk and soul tapes his mother bumped on school runs. Now, on Nothing Is Still, his first album for Ninja Tune, the producer and DJ pens a love letter to his grandparents and the story of their emigration from a southern UK suburb to New York City in the 60s. It’s a musical collage that spans nine ‘chapters’ interpreted from old photos and family anecdotes.
From the Sea/It Looms evolves over six-minutes to crescendo, building to an expanse of sound that almost tries to escape from its own waveform; Trouble shimmers with not-unlike-Terry Riley melodies before eclipsing itself with bellowing bass rumbles that explore subterranean hertz.
Fans of Vynehall’s 2016 EP Rojus will find thrills in the tectonic thump of English Oak and the jazz-noir of Drinking it in Again. But Nothing Is Still never truly immerses itself in the dancefloor fodder Vynehall has become known for. Rather, the influence of Steve Reich and Philip Glass is so overt it’s almost lazy to point it out, which makes for moments of genuine encapsulation, but at times falls into self-indulgence. Regardless, with an album entrenched in Vynehall’s own personal story, Nothing Is Still has the ability to resonate far beyond its roots.