Craig Leon[US]

Photo by Amelia Troubridge

Craig Leon is notorious for launching the careers of now-iconic '70s and '80s rock and pop musicians, but a series of solo synth experiments recorded decades ago and recently reissued by RVNG has made him a notable artist in his own right

Raised in the US before relocating to Britain, Leon is credited with the discovery and early development of groups like the Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, and Suicide. Later years saw the record producer revisiting the classicism of his early music training, with his compositions, orchestration, and arrangement contributing to recordings of Italian soprano Giorgia Fumanti and The Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras. He has also scored a number of feature films.

Leon's keen ear for anticipating advancements in sound and style is also shown in his electronic productions, which preceded the rise of industrial music, new age, and ambient techno. Released on John Fahey's Takoma label in 1980, his Nommos LP was conceptually designed around the creation myth of the Dogon tribe of Mali, with its "interplanetary folk" style of cosmic sound washes and metallic polyrhythms loosely adapted from the most basic modes and rhythms of West African music. Visiting, also produced with Leon's growing collection of synthesizers, followed on Enigma in 1982. Intended as a two-part "mirror image" set, both albums were reissued in the summer of 2014 by RVNG International. Nommos will be presented in Germany for the first time at CTM 2015, in collaboration with Texas folk artist Cassell Webb and an acoustic ensemble.

Leon's current composition projects combine synthesizers and orchestral instruments, and outings on Sony Masterworks and Atlas Realisations are planned for 2015 and 2016.

RA Live Exchange: Craig Leon

Kunstquartier Studio 1, Sat 31.01.2015, 13:00

Craig Leon in conversation with Will Lynch


HAU1, Thu 29.01.2015, 19:30

Piotr Kurek, Craig Leon