Leaver – Hands Like Cages

11.30.20 by Ryan Masteller

Oh no you don’t. Don’t go slinging that “singer/songwriter” nonsense my way. I won’t have it. LEAVER won’t have it. I mean, sure, “Hands Like Cages,” the new tape on Amek from the duo of Angel Simitchiev and Daniel Donchov, has singing, and presumably the words being sung had to be written, but when you think of “singer/songwriter,” what do you think of? Joni Mitchell? James Taylor? Cat Stevens? That is NOT what Leaver is about, not even a little bit. Leaver is postapocalyptic ash and rot. James Taylor sings songs to himself about being a baby or something. I can’t be 100 percent sure, I haven’t paid that much attention.

Leaver plays long, slow, masochistic dirges that cause you to question your very actions at this very moment. Seriously, put on this Leaver tape, let it make you feel really bad about yourself, and then what’s this drawing you’re working on? Worthless. You trying to organize your stuff? Don’t bother, nothing matters. Attempting to write a music review about a duo called Leaver. You, sir, can fuck right off – ain’t happening. The guitar-and-ambience crawl here is a leaden weight on your soul, a black-magic pall of disappointment and disappearance, a spell to make you slink back into the hole you crawled out of. I don’t know if that’s Leaver’s ACTUAL intention, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had a similar reaction to them that I do.

Leaver allows this outlet for Simitchiev and Donchov, this ritualistic exploration of pagan sounds, and it also allows for a more poetic release from these two experimental electronic musicians, swimming as they do in the broad emotional deep end of dark ambient and cosmic synthesizer music, Donchov as Non Photo Blue and Simitchiev as Mytrip and arbiter of Amek Collective. Together they rally around different sounds, different ways of recording, and come at the process from an intensely different direction. No “Sweet Baby Angels” or “Sweet Baby Daniels” here … just longing and loss. But really listenable longing and loss!

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