Review: Bell La Roy & Larry Leaba – Leaba And Le-roys Long Mixes
Anthony Naples’ Proibito label has just returned – with a new EP from two mysterious straightforward musicians, Bell La Roy & Larry Leaba.
The story behind the EP is fascinating. Both artists met in 99’ whilst scuba diving in Belize and began to experiment musically. Hailing from opposite sides of the Atlantic, they enlisted a local group of musicians to back them up on Guitar, Double Bass and Kick Drums for their ‘Leaba & Le Roy’s Long Mixes’ EP. Described as the product of ‘a few Rum Daiquiris and many a spliff’, Larry leads the jungle atmospherics on the bongo drums, whilst Bell Le Roy keeps it dreamy on the organic sampler and echo pedals.
Since the launch in 2013, Anthony Naples’ imprint has become one of the most prominent labels in NYC with a reputation for quality music shying away from restrictive pigeonholes. The label has seen releases from artists like Huerco S., Hank Jackson and NYC Reggaeton producer DJ Python. This time though, Anthony Naples welcomes the worldly duo for a debut EP on Probito that brings together influences spanning far and wide.
Opening up the EP is Larry Leaba’s ‘The Family Butter’. He lays the focus on clean jungle sounds and textured bongo drums, creating an almost soundtrack-like composition that transports you across the continent. The track is a perfect opener – blending natural sounds with analogue instruments creates a minimal, yet intricate tribal ambiance that feels warming and tropical. Up next is Bell La Roy’s ‘Burnt Ends (Sweet & Spicy Mix)’, which blurs shuffled low-end drums with organic swells and muted bell hits. The arrpegiating synth line rises throughout, creating a building tension that becomes hypnotic and uplifting. ‘Burnt Ends’ is something of an in-between track –not quite for dancing, but not laid-back ambient either.
Closing the EP is a joint effort – ’22-04-16 (Warm Parmy Mix)’, taking the best elements from the latter cuts and fusing them together to make a track that’s dreamy, elevating, soulful and warm – all at the same time. Larry’s bongos and Bell Le Roy’s echo pedals harmonize together, enhancing an already warm glow and bringing out plucky aquatic drips, deep guitar riffs and nonchalant melodies.
Bell La Roy & Larry Leaba’s ‘Long Mixes’ EP is up there with the greats on Proibito. Perhaps it’s because you can imagine a pair of musicians deep in a jungle creating it with only handmade bongos and bamboo stems straight out the water from a scuba diving session in Belize; or perhaps it’s because the tracks are abundantly rich in texture and character, serving to illuminate a variety of music taken from another culture. The EP comes together with all kinds of inspiration taken from all over the world; another contemporary way of injecting some much needed flavour into modern electronic music. Bell La Roy & Larry Leaba do this especially well, showcasing a vast amount authenticity and ability in this debut release.