Dual Form is a 53-minute dive into the musical other, a place where freedom of form meets depth of vision, where the old world rhythms meet new world means, and where your labels – wonky, lo-fi, ambient, body music, nerd shit, beat scene, No Wave, pysch, pop – begin to fall apart. Leaving Records is one of Los Angeles’ best, a hand-curated cassette label whose international reach belies its boutique status and DIY style. Its rare editions are snatched up instantly, sent off to the mailboxes of those who know around the globe. Dual Form finds Leaving teaming up for the first time with Stones Throw Records. The partnership was natural: the two labels are both based in the Highland Park neighborhood of Northeast Los Angeles and share a similar spirit and an enthusiasm for outsider music and art.
Leaving has never been a traditional label. It was born humble in a Highland Park garage to Matthewdavid and partner/visual director Jesselisa Moretti. They gave it their spare time, and the imprint grew starting with a late 2009 tape from local Dilla-phile Dak, who Matthewdavid discovered while engineering a web radio session for his day job with Dublab. The pair silk-screened slipcases by hand and made enough change to fund the next project. To this day, Leaving is still curated by gut, not by genre, and their family of contributors has grown to include folks as physically and stylistically far-flung as U.K. dance usurper the Cyclist, Moscow beat beast Lapti, Baltimore New Ageist Semya, Philly producer Knx, and Belgian collagist Ssaliva.
Naturally, Dual Form reflects the brightly burning light guiding Leaving’s doings: an elevated level of experimentation combined with the twinning beliefs that art is sacred and music is magic. In a way, avant chanteuse Julia Holter provides this set’s mantra with her haunting cover of Arthur Russell’s “You and Me Both” when she sings, “Want to keep on doing.” To that end, Anticon founder Odd Nosdam delivers the booming but elegiac “Sisters,” Postal Service electrician Dntel gets playful with “Windy Windy,” psychedelic blueser Sun Araw discovers transcendence for “Right Off,” and Serengeti teams with Matthewdavid for the far-out rap of “Into the Night.
Dual Form could’ve easily been a retrospective of Leaving Records’ “greatest hits,” but that’d be a disingenuous introduction to a label that’s always looking forward. All of the tracks on the album are new, original recordings. If the names gathered here look unfamiliar, it’d be a good time to start studying them.
Stones Throw will begin distributing select Leaving releases, starting with The Cyclist’s debut album in early 2013. We do believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.