Leftfield – Leftism (1995)

Despite the somewhat political name of the group and album, this is not political music. In fact, it is one of the best EDM albums ever made. It’s so unique and wonderful sounding that it will leave you in awe.

It has a huge amount of different world music and electronic-based influences in this album. Let’s examine these tunes, track by track.

We begin this sonic journey with Release The Pressure. It kicks off with some ethereal sounds, birds chirping and launches into a great piece of electronic music. It has some Jamaican reggae influences in it. It breaks into a great dance piece. Not bad for a song that is over seven minutes long.

The next tune is Afro-Left which is a decent tune as well. It has some unusual string instrumentation of some sort played throughout, and some wonderful lyrics in a non-English dialect. It’s great to hear, and still sounds fresh and inspired today.

Melt sounds like a piece that melts in your mouth and sounds delicious. It is a very psychedelic number and still sounds great today. Horns and other trippy sounds are plentiful here, along with some crunchy drum sounds. A nice little piece in editing.

Song Of Life begins with an acid house style riff and bringing in some amazing and intelligent textures. It then breaks into a beat-driven piece which sounds rather catchy. It’s danceable and listenable simultaneously, a rarity in EDM. It’s very progressive as well in approach, a great thing indeed.

The next piece Original is very original. But the message in this piece with female vocals and lyrics is to remain true to oneself. It’s a little melancholy, but still very good. “You’re original, live your own path. You’re original, light your own way”. Great stuff. The outro is good too.

A very short (for this album) piece named Black Flute arrives. It’s a much more danceable piece for the album but still sounds true to the Leftfield sound. Very good to hear. Pumps the adrenaline in your body the whole way through.

Space Shanty arrives, and it sounds like a continuation of the sound of the previous track. There is some trippy sounding Sitar here, along with some eastern vocals. That is the intro alone. The rest of the song is just wonderful and groove-based, a nice tune here. There are some wicked tribal drums towards the end as well.

Inspection (Check One) arrives, and this track is awesome and cool. There is a heavy bassline and drum beats galore, along with some well-chosen sampled phrases. It’s a great listen, and if you have to listen to one song by Leftfield, ideally this is it. It never bores throughout the length of time here.

The following piece, Storm 3000, arrives with some attentive sounds that are very interesting. The subsonic bass here is awesome, as is the breakbeat here too. It’s a minor key piece but sits perfectly well in this album. This piece is a lot like what The Chemical Brothers would have recorded, but it’s Leftfield here instead.

The next song that arrives is one of Leftfield’s best. You can never guess that John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) is singing here. He sings really well here in a soulful way. This cut is Open Up. It’s very, very good. The breakdown is great too. A classic song.

21st Century Poem is a poetry recital into some futuristic sounds. It sounds very melodramatic and spacey. It is difficult to pinpoint where Leftfield got their samples from on here. But, it’s a good way to finish the album. It’s a call of arms to people to fight for their own rights. There is a twist at the end as well.

This is truly a great EDM sort of album. It’s definitely worth listening to. The only issue? It is a tad long and could have been edited in some ways. Still, it’s an essential listen for those who love all forms of electronic music. Hardcore fans will want to seek the 22nd-anniversary edition, which has some interesting remixes on it.

8/10

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