Felix Leifur – In General EP Review
The Icelandic producer, Felix Leifur returns to Berlin’s prominent Deep House label, Dirt Crew recordings and completely shakes up House Music as we know it with his sophomore EP, “In General”. Davíð Sveinn Bjarnason, aka Felix Leifur, got his start in the scene with a collaborative project on local label, Lagaffe Tapes, between himself and Hjalti Karl Hafsteinsson, known as Davíð & Hjalti in 2015. The project was a hit locally and in the UK house scene, but it was just a sample of Davíð’s creative potential. Shortly after the duo’s buzz got around Manchester and London, local UK underground producer, “Hidden Spheres” got a hold of Davíð’s music and instantly took it to the hippest House label in Europe, Dirt Crew Recordings. From there, Davíð pivoted toward a solo project as “Felix Leifur” and got his shot with his debut EP , “The Sunday Club”. Leifur immediately proved himself with his debut, among Dirt Crew’s biggest acts and created himself a signature sound and space which would be impossible to replicate. With “The Sunday Club” bumpin’ across Europe throughout 2016, Dirt Crew needed more from the young Icelandic and returns to 2017 with “In General”. Leifur humbly states in a Bolting Bits’s interview, “I started playing around with production in 2008-ish, and I didn’t really listen to house that much back then. I started to love it when I moved to Manchester in 2013 to study audio engineering, house was so big there that I couldn’t miss it. What drew me to house was the hip hop and jazz side of it (of course). I used to listen to hip hop and jazz from a young age (as most people my age did) and when I discovered it in it’s house form, I just loved it. I Guess it just happened kind of naturally, I don’t really intend to make a specific type of house, my only requirement is that I have to impress myself, whatever comes out comes out. I’m also just lucky that people like it”. Leifur’s attitude towards his music is accentuated throughout this record. Felix neatly blends a chaos of familiar sampling and sounds we’ve seemed to know about for decades, influenced by Grover Washington Jr. and Ramsey Lewis’s jazz-funk, classical jazz and reinvigorating each track with thick, textured high hats and catchy bass-lines. Not only is Felix funky, his ability to blend tradtional “Boom Bap” hip-hop production to 120 beats per minute and synergizing that with distortions that break up the song structure and then neatly tightening the track right back to the progression on each climax and breakdown. One of the hardest things to do in Deep House in particular, is to keep the listener attuned and to not zone them out. Felix brings active “lounge house” music and keeps you aroused with what each conventional 4/4 time signature is going to do. You’ll subconsciously bob your head to the high hats in agreement, shake your hips to the melodies and tap your feet to each beat. The record feels like an emotional paradox bouncing between his warm, sunny sampling, morphed with each fractured beat, unsettling tone, and tape hiss. “In General” reminds me of the first time hearing Aphex Twin’s, “Windowlicker”. You have had no idea what sound was going to pop out next. It leaves you almost disturbed, yet you are so entranced and intrigued you don’t want to look away. My best advice is to get rid of any pre-conceived notions you have of house music and let Felix Leifur hold your hand through this formidable storm of music.