Leaaves – Panacea For Lightweights (Katuktu Collective, 2018)

Within the sparse liner notes for Leaaves’ latest release, a line reads simply ‘[i]ntended for long-form active listening’. This ultimately proves a challenging request to honour, but not because its contents are of poor quality, ineffective, or otherwise deficient. Rather, this is owed to how the combination of Panacea For Lightweights’ extended duration and immersive properties so effortlessly abet it in becoming the listener’s environment.

We become inured to the spaces we frequent – to live by the water is to slowly dull our response to the majesty of a wave. Thusly, to experience a work like this – one so spacious in scale and bright in tone – is to simultaneously exist inside of it, to trace its pathways, accept its presence, and maybe even revel in a newfound diminution of self as we struggle to glimpse the limits of its voluminous expanse. To feel small in the grip of a beauty that plays out before us is a magic language ill equips us for; in helplessly floating among the stars, unable to reclaim agency with regard to destination, many overwhelming emotions may reasonably surface  – fear, panic, uncertainty, resignation – but by grounding oneself and learning to trust where the universal current is flowing, acceptance and peace become palpable outcomes.

As such, it’s difficult not to betray the artist’s wishes and merely engage with Panacea For Lightweights passively as such an endeavour becomes akin to wishing to learn the blemishes on every pebble in your garden or desiring fluency in the shape of each tree in the wood, but if you make that effort to ask what is happening and allow yourself to get outside of this music just enough to truly evaluate how beautiful it is without vacating its hospitable hold, you might just find that peace.

– J. Brodsky

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