E Luxo So is one of those rare beauties of an album that transfixes you from the start and holds you 'til the end. Whats more, after the first listen in which you are amazed at the depths spartan chords can stir, you gradually grow fond of it, slowly depending on it until you find yourself hugging the CD case in bed at night. I'd originally thought that Boards of Canada had produced the defining mimimalist album with "A Beautiful Place In the Country", but I see I was mistaken.
Listening to your favorite songs of Labradford is like being surrounded by the most beautiful part of a song you love and simply staying with that part and floating in its beauty. It is quite a purifying experience during which the peace inside of you strengthens and solidifies and the space between you and all unnecessary distractions takes over. It is helpful not to be planning your next moves when you listen to this music. Labradford provides a perfect background to...here, now. When you listen to P or S (yes, these are titles of their songs and both these are from Mi Media Naraja) all you feel like doing is to press repeat 1 and delay your next engagement. At least I do. After I got really hooked on this music back in 2003 I had spent around 6 months listening to nothing else but Labradford and often to P or S on repeat 1 for hours on end. The gates of your mind become wide open, believe me. Their last 3 albums are my favorite, Mi Media Naraja (1997); E Luxo So (1999); Fixed: Context (2001), with my most favorite songs being on Mi Media Naraja, but I still prefer the overall feel of E Luxo So (aside from song titles). Although I do like music of Pan American (Mark's following act), some of the spirit is just not there for me any more. Labradford's 3 final albums (as of 2009, and I do hope they will have me revise my sentence) are a mixture of ambient minimalist music, fragments of beautiful melodies here and there, some background noise and a mastery of delays, loops and echoes.
Many people listening to great music might have a problem with getting into Labradford. This music will annoy you extremely, bore you to death, or reveal its beauty and power to you. I really don't want you to be resentful towards me. Here are a few reasons why not to listen to Labradford. You are waiting for music which never comes. You are tired of constantly skipping to the next song. You get a feeling that your speakers are failing or your equipment is falling apart. You may feel like you just want to strangle these guys, which is bad for your self esteem. Because it is much better to tune into your favorite reality show than to deal with this. Obviously, personally I don't feel this way but I like to starve myself at times just to experience the process...and the taste of bread afterwards.... For me less often means more... Please, download a single song of Labradford, like P or S or E Luxo So 1 or 6 and make sure you can call it music...Here are my favorite songs of Labradford and Pan American: P, E Luxo So part 1, S, E Luxo So part 6, Settled, Twenty, Code, WR, E Luxo So part 3, G, Starts Friday.
Labradford produce a wonderful swirling soundscape for the ambient devotists. They mix together an electronic hum complemented with beautiful relaxing piano, and heart stopping clicks and rhythms. A truly outstanding mellow album.
With hours to spare, staring at the ceilng, this album would probably have impressed me a little more. However I don't have that luxury. E luxo so is like the anti boards of Canada, whilst being entirely instumental it appears to have no focus. The album does litte to hold my concentration and in places reminds me of the more quirky Icelandic band "Mum". I won't be purchasing any more labradford albums, but I won't be throwing this is in the bin either. Maybe one evening, when everyone and eveything is else where, I'll find time stare at the ceiling and loose my self. Chances are though I'll only see the dust on the light fittings.