Lerosa, Dual Nature

[Further Records] (buy cassette)

Releasing a debut album on a TDK cassette only format limited to just 100 copies seems like a peculiar career move for an ascending electronic artist. And for someone like Lerosa, collaborating with Further for the release is even more puzzling. Since 2005, Lerosa aka Leopoldo Rosa has established himself with a string of critical 12″s that could be declared loosely as house, but have incorporated stylistic markers that span from acid and techno to jazz and electro. Stamped with a quirky identity, Rosa’s productions may nominally fit the deep house billing their often filed under but there’s much more hinting at expression. On the other hand, the newly formed Further label has established itself with digital-only releases that are aimed at progressive house and the trance end of techno audiences. In other words, adding Lerosa to the roster stands out like a sore thumb. But according to Rosa, the release and format was a deliberate move by the label owner to allow for more freedom to the artist, less financial risk by label while still producing a tangible object, which Dual Nature accomplishes.

The album opens with “Rusticales” as effervescent synth washes echo their mellifluous tones over loping sub bass and delicate percussion, Rosa announces his new found liberty blithely. Next up we get the first taste of an interlude, in the form of a roughly minute-long cavernous electro piece titled “Spectra.” The theme is continued with “Sponge” as he invokes Detroit minimal electro for an excursion with rolling bass, dark synth stabs and dub effects. Rosa touches on electro elements more fully on “Traffic,” but the dry 808 programming and analog bass line come off as rote maneuvers; whereas “Dixon Jar” treads similar ground but veers off with a moody organ melody befitting his house productions. Rosa’s only real straightforward house entry here is “5 Petals,” its 4/4 rhythm benefiting from fluttering synth melodies and a clipped bass line that unfortunately ends abruptly. The other interlude is “Abscend,” its slow, strutting beat, hi-hats and finger snaps fitting brilliantly into a jazz-soaked keyboard line. The first side ends with “Drama” an appropriately titled track that merges synth sweeps, echoing voices and deep bass swells with further electro drums that mesh well but never overtake the midnight atmosphere.

The second side begins in similar sonic space as the title track and features a spare break beat, but is overshadowed by lustrous synth pads, a tremolo bass line and digital effects that support its melodic gesticulations, wavering between both warm and melancholic. Elsewhere, Rosa tries to balance out ambient textures with techno intensity on “Illness 2” and “Common Thief” with mixed results. When he takes on more purist electronic ambience as with “Paved,” Rosa succeeds by focusing on melodic structuring. Dual Nature ends on “Ohne Pt. 2” as he merges techno vamps with a series of analog sounds awash in delay and reverb, giving the impression of a banging techno cut ready to be unleashed. Instead he brings the kick in on the offbeats and with a trailing clipped bass creates a stuttered feel to the rhythm that on paper should fit the techno/dubstep hybrid mold but never does. Dual Nature stands out not only by its format but also for the music. Its limited release has freed Rosa to explore his influences more fully which we should be grateful to have the opportunity to hear since these sounds may not have ever seen the light of day. For that reason alone cassette releases have the chance to bring music to market in a physical form, even if it’s a small, niche one.

Jamie  on January 21, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Its a lovely release and its cool to use the tape deck in my car again. I bump it when I go snowboarding and driving around town. I find the car to be the best place for intimate listening. Two thumbs up on this release!

Gabriel Stargardter  on January 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM

I’m sorry but releasing a cassette is the most ridiculous thing ever. I can understand recording a radio show to listen back to on cassette (not that you really need to any more thanks to the internet), but house and techno place a premium on sound quality, unlike some of the beardo-folk bands who also release albums on tape. This strikes me as a tad pretentious, which is a shame because I really dig Lerosa.

Tom  on January 21, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Haven’t been that big a fan of Lerosa’s past work, but these tracks sound great. Shame it’s not coming out on wax, would love a copy.

Jimmy  on January 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM

@gabriel – are you aware that cassette’s are analogue and sound amazing?

knowing the further guys quite well it struck me as odd getting lerosa to do a release….but if you look at some of the stuff that chloe harris play’s on proton radio (as well as some older sets) one realises that it ain’t all “hernan prog”, despite previous releases.

i love the warmth of this album, the format forces listenning to it all (or mostly) at once…and the moving from ambient, slow to more traditional 4/4 and back and forth works really well.

Eddie  on January 21, 2010 at 4:41 PM

I thought this cassette was so good I told Rob to shove it up his arse. fortunately for Rob his arse contains the finest Nakamichi cassette deck ever made connected to a valve amp in his small intestine.

it sounded divine

jonnyp  on January 21, 2010 at 5:50 PM

clips sounds great. i’m equally as excited by the prospect of giving the walkman a trip on the tube. might have to see if i can find my reebok pumps for the journey.

ryan  on January 21, 2010 at 7:12 PM

is this only available on cassette? no cd, vinyl, or even mp3 download?

littlewhiteearbuds  on January 21, 2010 at 7:40 PM

That’s what the review says.

ryan  on January 21, 2010 at 10:02 PM

whoops, probably should’ve at least read the first line of the review before commenting. my bad.
really wish the tape deck in my car didn’t jam… that’s first time i’ve said that since it did, four years ago.
anyways, thanks for the heads up, lwe. got my copy coming.

littlewhiteearbuds  on January 21, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Glad to hear it.

BigRed  on January 21, 2010 at 11:35 PM

How many of those little tapes are left? Still possible to pick one up? If yes, where? The song hooked me up the hooza, nearly as much as your review. Well done LWE.

Jimmy  on January 22, 2010 at 12:37 AM

Go to discogs….you can buy directly off of them.

or Bandcamp site.

(which also has the new tape up for purchase)

lerato  on January 22, 2010 at 6:44 AM

great work leo & the cassettes are way better than mp3’s by a mile .

kuri  on January 22, 2010 at 11:38 AM

cassettes are killing mp3s! hah!

I just noticed that the 2nd album is Aybee. Time to buy back my tapedeck from the pawn shop.

rokas  on January 22, 2010 at 1:12 PM

do you even know that there some cassete types that are even better than digital quality? read about it before writing your stupid comments

grant  on January 24, 2010 at 4:50 AM

those two tracks are really sweet. they’ve got a lovely diffused glow about them. lovely to hear this older style of minimal done so well.

Blaktony  on January 25, 2010 at 11:37 AM

WOW, i can’t believe it….people defending cassettes in 2010. I still use mine & cherish it as a gem (that analoge warmth). Plus it’s a great medium 4 now 4 the home musician as well as label to be able to express an whole idea & concept of the artist. Even though you have to be careful so it doesn’t bunch up in your player,keep it in good maintainance gives you something tangible & personable; as good music should be….a thing which is valued & appreciated. Thanx 4 the old-school lerosa & futher.

Quentin thorpe  on January 26, 2010 at 1:30 AM

Saying cassettes are better than mp3s is like saying you’d rather eat dirt instead of shit.
If you’re going to release music on cassette why not mix it in mono too and keep it super real?

good_god  on January 26, 2010 at 2:40 PM

people release what they want how they want. the medium is the message. didn’t someone say that recently??

ordered instantly. thanks, Rosa!

HISSNLISSN  on January 28, 2010 at 2:49 AM

Amazing stuff. Glad I caught this just now, ordered the Lerosa and Aybee tapes immediately – both appear to be available! Great sounds backed by a great idea… this is what makes music special.

– James

Will C.  on February 25, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Finally got my copy in the mail this afternoon…incredible stuff! Definitely one I’ll be listening to over and over. Shades of IDM, dub techno, electro, all of it done brilliantly.


Tweets that mention Lerosa, Dual Nature – Little White Earbuds -- Topsy.com  on January 21, 2010 at 11:59 AM

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jordash @ j&j and Little White Earbuds, ImaHouseGroupie. ImaHouseGroupie said: Lerosa, Dual Nature: [Further Records] (buy cassette) Releasing a debut album on a TDK cassette only format limit… http://bit.ly/7L3DB5 […]

Current Top 10 « Energy Flash  on February 12, 2010 at 11:55 AM

[…] 1. Lerosa – “Rusitcales” (Further) Taken from his debut cassette-only album  Dual Nature this track is a refreshing listen with an ambient-electronic footing. Here is my full review of this album on LWE. […]

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