Haunter Records is proud to present Left My Brain @ Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria) OST, the follow-up to Jesse Osborne-Lanthier’s As The Low Hanging Fruit Vulnerabilities Are More Likely To Have Already Turned Up (Halcyon Veil); Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night! (raster-noton) and Absolute Garbage EP (Haunter Records via United Standard). A project five years in the making, unapologetically grandiose, dotted by contributions from dear friends Asaël Robitaille, v1984 and Marie Davidson; Left My Brain… is Osborne-Lanthier’s most ambitious work to date.
Musically, Osborne-Lanthier looks to the material composition techniques of grime, rap, modern classical, sound art, heavy metal, and more, to create something that is readily unique and oddly accessible in its singularity. Above all, Osborne-Lanthier maintains a taste for intensity as a tool for immersive engagement. The tracks on Left My Brain... are tactile and elastic, morphing rapidly from uncanny-valley EDM tropes to vast, sweeping expanses of sincere choral synths. The LP provides stark contrasts at every turn; sometimes heavily structured or freely fluid; symphonic or dissonant; minimal or intricate.
Left My Brain… is in many ways an elegaic record. Largely composed and produced in the shadow of his mother’s passing, Left My Brain… is the result of countless hours of work and numerous stops and starts; it was deemed finished and set to be released three separate times before arriving at this final version. Buried deep in the material history of the record is an elegy of another sort, too, which begins in 2015, when Osborne-Lanthier was on a European tour.
The first recordings for this album took shape during a stay in Barcelona, where Osborne-Lanthier made daily visits to La Xampanyeria for a sandwich and cava. At the time his interest was in academic music, and the work he turned out was overly serious and stiff. Over the following years he started self-consciously warping these recordings, adding musical derangements to them, making fun of them. Initially, these functioned as technical challenges and were used as comedic interludes for his live sets, but eventually they were left behind.
In 2016, Osborne-Lanthier’s mother passed away. After a long mourning period, nostalgia drove him to revisit a body of old recordings where he discovered something new: the sarcasm, self-effacing humour and proficient technicality he’d found so funny originally was now just a mask for insecurity and sadness. The music’s journey from academic pomposity to lowbrow cynicism eventually revealed something that Osborne-Lanthier had been working at for a long time: a music that was more than the sum of its parts; a story only he could tell. He set out to rework those recordings, reprocessing them over and over until their structures completely changed, until they’d gained such texture and depth they were no longer recognizable as themselves. Years after beginning this project, its scope and scale had finally become clear — the fruiting body of a fungus born from the nutrients of dead plants: an opus born from trash.
All these odds and ends were recollected and reworked over years in professional studios, and the final arrangements were made in Montreal with the help of long-time collaborator Asaël Robitaille. Much of the compositional complexity of the record is attributed to this process — a richness is gained from remodelling, re-editing and rebuilding over and over again; every new result has a trace of its origins. There’s a widescreen romanticism to these compositions reminiscent of a vivid dream. The record smacks with a wet nostalgia that soaks into the concrete dryness of Osborne-Lanthier’s sound design, musical references gallop by at a breakneck pace like a virtuoso running scales. But the gestalt of the record is the result of a singular voice — there's not a note or sound left untouched or untrammelled. Osborne-Lanthier sees the album as something of a concept cemetery; an overgrown plot that slowly filled to the brim with dead ideas; a mycelial network of thoughts and plans that never came true.
Left My Brain... is a deeply meaningful record to Osborne-Lanthier, from the reference to his favourite Barcelona restaurant in the title to the multi-layered backstory and instantly-identifiable musical voice. The virtuoso technicality and wild, unpredictable musicianship of the compositions is accompanied by the micro-literary song titles; from “What Dreams Are Made Of” to “Godlike Paywall” to “Besetting Fugue.” The record’s heart is grounded in these phrases, snatches of flickering thought that are both evocative of a stranger’s interior life and deeply familiar to one’s own. Every record’s story is an indelible part of the record itself, but on Left My Brain..., Osborne-Lanthier elevates the backstory several atmospheric levels past the realm of meta-commentary. What results is an album that is uniquely personal: more than the soundtrack to the last five years of the artist’s life, this is the soundtrack to the last five years of his DNA. It's clear that for Osborne-Lanthier, Left My Brain... is a record for, and of, himself.
For all of its absurd alien beauty, this is as much a record about being a musician as it is a record about making fun of music; as much an expert-level exploration of technical chops as it is an assault on the stupidity of technicality. Beautiful film-like ambient passages flow directly into weapons-grade riffs, fluid whirlpools drain into chattering synths and shrieking frequency envelopes. Ugliness and immaturity are not only preserved but elevated, club tracks have the structure of orchestral symphonies, a multiplicity of genres bleed into each other effortlessly. The result is Osborne-Lanthier’s most finely-honed record to date — a reflection of what it is to be human: divinely uncategorizable.
released September 8, 2020
Composed between 2015 and 2020 in Montreal, New York, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Milan, Tokyo, Stockholm, Osaka and Shanghai by Jesse Osborne-Lanthier.
Produced in Montreal by Jesse Osborne-Lanthier.
Additional production and arrangement assistance by Asaël Robitaille.
Mastered by Heba Kadry.
Design, layout and additional art by Jesse Osborne-Lanthier.
Art installation and photographs by Adrian Altman, courtesy of the artist.
supported by 15 fans who also own “Left My Brain @ Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria) OST”
It was a bit too much and samey by the end for me, but if you like dark atmospheres, if you are really interested in sound design or you enjoy the challenge of music that tries to wear you down, you should definitely check this record out.
I loved the echo-drenched drums and percussion and synths and hard to describe sounds on this, but it stays with the same sonic ideas for too long for me to enjoy to try to withstand the harsh wall of sounds minisculebarber