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leaf is ten
leaf label profile
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Frond memories.

The Leaf Label first sprouted in 1995 with the release of Boymerang’s The Don 12-inch – a cut of abstract drum’n’bass from former Bark Psychosis vocalist Graham Sutton. But whilst Boymerang may be no more, The Leaf Label has continued to flourish as founder Tony Morley applied the skills he had picked up working for seminal British indie label, 4AD, to nurturing the acts he found growing in the leftfield. And it’s been a rich harvest indeed, with The Leaf Label branching out into different genres and across the world – bringing us foreboding ambient from Mexico in the form of Murcof, Australian jazz from Triosk and French folktronica from Colleen, amongst many others over the past decade. Not to mention being the first label to release Kieran Hebden’s first record as Four Tet (Field on 1998’s label compilation, Invisible Soundtracks Vol. 3) and providing Manitoba – now Caribou – with fertile ground for his psych-pop experiments.

Sutekh and Caribou.

Label ethos
“It’s about individuality,” says Tony Morley. “Because I listen to all kinds of music I tend to go for things I haven’t heard before. Inevitably, everything has its place in music history and will have elements of other things going on in there. What we look for are people who are conscious of that but are trying to do something new with them, rather than just wanting to be another indie-rock band. The last Caribou album is a good example. It’s a distillation of 40 years of music but put together in a way you haven’t heard before.”

Hanne Hukkelberg and Icarus.

Defining tracks
Not that The Leaf Label has ever produced much chaff, but if you’re looking for the real cream of the crop then Tony recommends their first album release – Sons Of Silence’s Silence FM from 1997. Their 1999 label compilation, Osmosis, also warrants a mention, as it introduced the world at large to the likes of 310, Beige and, most significantly, Susumu Yokota – the prolific Japanese electronica producer who subsequently released Sakura (widely regarded as his most essential album) on The Leaf Label in 2000.

New acts
Having released 10 albums in the past 12 months – “Which nearly killed me!” Tony admits – The Leaf Label are trimming their schedule back a bit next year. Their next album release will be Beautiful Seizure, from Chicago rock trio volcano! in January, whom Tony describes as “fantastically exciting. They’ve got a singer who sounds like Frank Black crossed with Thom Yorke, and a jazz drummer who’s now playing rock’n’roll.”

Efterklang and Murcof.

The mix
“A lot of labels might provide something that’s perfectly beat-matched but it’s impossible to do that with our stuff,” laughs Tony. “It’s all over the place stylistically but all the tracks represent a good cross-section of where we’ve been and where we’re going.” Although, given the surprises that The Leaf Label have plucked from between the margins in the last 10 years, we’ve got no idea where that will actually be.

Paul Clarke 10 November 05
Various Artists - Check The Water, released 14 November 05 on The Leaf Label.

Leaf Is Ten mix - tracklisting

Caribou - Barnowl (2005)
Sutekh - Alma Hueco (2005)
Efterklang - Swarming (Antenne version) (2005)
Asa-Chang & Junray - Kaikyo (2003)
Triosk - Chronosynclastic Infunibula (2004)
Susumu Yokota - Kawano Hotorino Kinoshitade (1998)
Colleen - I'll Read You A Story (2005)
Icarus - Tea Bell (2004)
Freeform - Spandoe (2000)
Faultline - Partyline Honey (1999)
B. Fleischmann - The Rise And Fall Of A Drinker (2000)
A Small Good Thing - A Mighty Stillness (2002)
Bill Wells, Stefan Schneider & Annie Whitehead - Pick Up Sticks (2004)
Psapp - Calm Down (2004)
Read members' comments related to this music.
Leaf post 2
comment by Johandesilva    Dec 30, 2005
Some of the most underrated records feature at Leaf. Some of the stuff doesn’t seem to sell that well including limited edition vinyl only tracks from Susumu Kokota and 310 that are out of this world.
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link to antenne post 1
comment by antenne    Nov 14, 2005
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