Review: Lay-Far – War Is Over
Lay-Far’s inventiveness in broken house cuts go deeper than his hometown of Moscow. With roots from China on his side, alongside a B-boy past and passion for Dub, Post-Punk, UK Hardcore, Old School Hip-Hop and Soviet Jazz Funk – Lay-Far’s sound spreads globally, simply surpassing dance-floors. Past releases on Local Talk, Razor-N-Tape, Leng Records and BBE have turned heads from Laurent Garnier to Jimpster, with Motor City Drum Ensemble now describing his latest work as a gem of “modern fusion”.
The 3rd studio album, ‘War Is Over!’, is as personal and honest as it is clever and impressive, showing off a whole host of collaborations. We discover house influences tangled with jazz inspirations alongside soulful vocals, layered, like a producer’s succulently sweet trifle, under expertly spaced arrangements and sound textures. It just might be enough to end a war.
Quotes scatter themselves throughout the release, with tracks likes ‘Market Economy VS Culture’ making socio-political comments and others such as ‘Be The Change’ remarking upon themes such as spirituality. The production, however, is obviously what lies at the forefront, and it’s a spectacle. Lay-Far’s world is introduced in a heart-warming style (‘Sirius Rising’) with soft keys kicking things off nicely. The producer’s effortless ability to deliver a solid groove is evident on ‘Be The Change’, where Pete Simpson’s inspiring words ride atop a sun-drenched, sizzling house beat.
The album dips in and out of varying styles, with some holding a high sense of energy (‘PPL LV (Tag Yourself)’ ) and others taking the route of deep, lounge-y house. One of these is ‘Never Good Enough For You’, which sits alongside the soothing vocals of Stee Downes, a singer who also delivers on the bumping ‘Over’. The standout track, however, has to be ‘Blow My Mind’, which does exactly what it says on the tin, drawing for an element of hip-hop on an 808 beat, dipping carefully in and out of a chopped up sample that works perfectly.
The character in each track is perfect for an album and for home listening. Lay-Far dazzles with tracks that could venture into the clubs if need be but really feel just fine as part of an impressive body of work. These aren’t DJ tool tracks just to be danced to in a daze, they are to be listened to with great attention.
The attention Lay-Far has given each track himself is clear and evidently this is an important album for him as an artist. We don’t know what war was started, but it’s definitely been ended with this masterful peace-keeping album of house cuts.