words by tom johnson
photograph by sebastian matthes
One of music’s most magical components is how innumerable processes can lead to the very same thing. One artist can write a song with just a handful of simple chords and still manage to change the shape of your day; while another can line four guitars up against a wall in an attempt to make their own version of a harp, with the exact same end result.
If the latter scenario reads like a far too extravagant scenario then please meet Mr Kiran Leonard; father of last year’s often miraculous “Grapefruit” LP and an artist who continues to peddle his own wonderfully unique path. Streaming below from today, “Cracked Globe” is his first new music since the aforementioned album and it’s taken from a new tape release, Monarchs Of The Crescent Pail, which will be released this Spring. Before getting to the song itself, here’s Leonard, in his own words, to introduce the process behind it in greater detail:
“I wrote this song one morning at the house of a good friend in Whalley Range (Manchester). He’s got all these old acoustic guitars. I set to lining four of them up against a wall and tuning each to a big chord. I played the guitars like a big harp and they were awesome and resonant. The lyrics I wrote with one friend in mind but its subject matter is not specific. Everybody has conversations with loved ones where private, devastating information is disclosed. In secret so many people bear unbelievable crosses. So I wrote this song for many friends/loved ones, all good people, whose fault it was not. Words don’t make everything better; it’s never easy to know what to say and how to console friends, but this is my best attempt to articulate some sort of response, to at least a dozen people I can think of.”
The end result is certainly, as hinted at above, the kind of song that can shift your entire day. Recalling, perhaps, the rugged sombreness of Jason Molina at his most bare-boned, the track is imposingly raw; Leonard’s voice alive and unvarnished, drifting in its own space like shadows creeping through an empty room. “The globe’s full of cracks; it is a thousand forests of unfairness and fear, and they swallow us repeatedly,” Leonard pines, the atmosphere swelling like a storm building up in the distance, but coupled with an almost stifling sense of humaneness that is suited to the much more enclosed and fabricated spaces of its creation.
Deft but considerably imposing, “Cracked Globe” feels like the kind of track that could run on for six, seven, eight minutes: It doesn’t, it quietly departs after just a couple, but, regardless, it’s sure to sit with you for much longer than that. Stream it below.
Kiran plays a solo show in Manchester this Sunday – full details here
His ‘Grapefruit’ LP is out now