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The labels ‘producer’ or ‘DJ’ do not do Leon Vynehall justice. 

The labels ‘producer’ or ‘DJ’ do not do Leon Vynehall justice. 

Leon Vynehall

Pitchfork describes Leon Vynehall as “a storyteller, one who demands and merits our full attention” and his debut full-length album Nothing Is Still cements the global acclaim the music-maker has been receiving since its release in June this year.

With humble beginnings as a beat-maker in the House, Deep-house and Downtempo realm, in less than 10 years Vynehall’s career has transformed.

A resident DJ at a club in Brighton, England, he released his first EP Music for the Uninvited in 2014. His second EP Rojus, arrived two years later 2016, but it wasn’t until 2018’s Nothing Is Still that Vynehall truly arrived as an artist.

“Leon Vynehall has quietly built a reputation for defying the obvious” – The Guardian

Leon Vynehall's 'Nothing Is Still' album art

Featuring absorbing monochromatic cover art by the late visual artist Pol Bury which depicts New York's famous traffic-laden George Washington Bridge, Nothing is Still is an immersive concept album which embraces the blurry lines between family history, memory and fiction. It is inspired by the true-life experiences of Vynehall’s grandparents and their emigration from England to New York at the beginning of the 1960s, triggered by the death of his grandfather. 

"Nothing Is Still Is Leon Vynehall's undoubted electronic masterpiece” - PopMatters

It was while Vynehall was working on his 2016 release Rojus and relocating from Leicester to Brighton that his grandfather passed away. While spending time with family following his grandfather’s death, his Nan began recounting stories of their life journey together, which sparked something inside him. What began with polaroids and anecdotes from his Nan evolved in a way Vynehall never quite imagined. Vynehall felt the deep need to create something from their remarkable stories. A collaboration with his friend Max Sztyber followed and together they began drafting what would become the Nothing Is Still novella. This novella is a literary companion piece to the album which tells the story of Stephanie, a new mother struggling to find a sense of place and purpose in an American Dream she no longer recognises as her own. Stuck between mid-century America's overbearing optimism and sinister contradictions, Stephanie begins to lose the plot of her own life story and longs for the comfort of her family and home. Through her vulnerable and compassionate gaze that readers can observe America as it was, and in many ways, still is.

Citing the influence of iconic minimalist composers Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Gavin Bryars, the concept album is divided into nine musical chapters, complete with footnotes, bringing to life the imagined story of his grandparents inspired by the stories from his Nan, piece by piece, step by step over 40 immersive minutes. 

“Vynehall dreams in panoramic view opting for smoky beats and heavenly synth lines to make for a smattering of gorgeous arrangements” - NME

Still from the video for Evelopes (Chapter VI)

And in addition to its musical and literary presence, Nothing is Still has evolved into a series of artful black and white films created in collaboration with filmmaker Young Replicant (Flying Lotus, Bonobo, alt-J, The xx), and a three-day live audio-visual installation at Hackney Showroom in London.

Still from the video for Evelopes (Chapter VI)

“Vynehall transcends his tag as a dance music producer and simply becomes a musician who's expressing himself.” – Resident Advisor

Leon Vynehall and Nothing Is Still is proof that House music stereotypes do not stick, that bar structures and beat drops can be transformed with heartfelt emotion and worldly stories that extend far beyond the four walls of a dance club.

“The album is a remarkably meditative listen built upon sprawling layers of minimalist piano arrangements, orchestral string sections, field recordings, atmospheric synths and off-kilter percussion - the compositions just as evocative and impassioned as the subject matter and circumstance that laid the album’s foundations.” – Clash Music

Listen to Nothing Is Still for yourself:

Leon Vynehall makes his exclusive Australian debut with the 10-piece Impossible Orchestra to perform Nothing Is Still live in its entirety at Melbourne Recital Centre as part of Melbourne Music Week this November.

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