January 25, 2017

Daniel Lentz - On The Leopard Altar, 1984

Such a cool record. This was Daniel Lentz's first album and was one of the seven releases on the short-lived Icon Records. Though Lentz's background seats him pretty squarely in the realms of academia, On The Leopard Altar avoids much of the dryness that I associate with minimalism--it's more generous, unafraid to lean into pop sensibility and pleasure. (Fittingly, he went on to make two records with Harold Budd.) "Lascaux" is a gorgeous nine minutes of 25 tuned wine glasses resonating in and out, with nothing added but reverb, and it acts as a new age drone meditation piece, with glasses serving as both shruti box and chimes. "Requiem" attempts to capture the experience of hearing a lone singer in a large, empty cathedral, with big church bell tolls, rolling keyboard chimes, a vocalist bathed in Julee Cruise-esque reverb, and a few pretty incredible overtone moments. The gorgeous title track is very warm, present vocals delivered with a choir boy-esque straight tone purity, over rolling keyboards and (I think) more wine glasses. On "Is It Love" and "Wolf Is Dead..." we hear more typically minimalist long-form weaving of gamelan-inspired rhythmic pulses in the vein of Reich and friends, and vowel-based vocal pulsing in the vein of Monk and friends, but even these are structured in ways that suggest a pop sensibility.


  1. The title track reminds me a lot of Virginia Astley. You agree?

  2. Nice one. As a side note, your mp3s are exceptionally well tagged. Where else do you see such consistent use of the "Track X of X" field? Bravo.

    1. so happy that someone finally noticed; i've often wondered if i'll be lying on my deathbed regretting the hundreds of hours i spent fixing my itunes tags. thanks for listening! <3

  3. I came to this blog looking for YMO and found more obscure 80s Japanese synth records but have now stumbled upon over a dozen amazing records I would've never heard elsewhere (Vapor Drawings, Elicoide, Finis Africae to name a few...). This one in particular is just pure bliss. Thanks so much for digging these up and getting them out there!

  4. we have deadstock copies at commend, super affordable :-)