Leo Diamond

Subliminal Sounds

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When the unrivalled leader of his field makes an album using sound effects, multi-tracking, and even a "3-D" sticker on the jacket, one cannot help but doubt the viability of the harmonica as solo instrument leading popular orchestra. The Subliminal Sounds include ghostly ethereal voice (organ imitating theremin), pouring rain, cicadas, and animal noises. The laconic pace and prominence of the organ bear a strong resemblance to the Three Suns' sound, but Leo Diamond never matches the zaniness of the Suns. Diamond is fine at tacking on sounds, even the strange and coveted sounds of "outer space," but none of the arrangements is an excellent example of noise integrated with theme. Perhaps the more he tries to balance the warm earthiness of the harmonica with cold, spacey accompaniment, the more apparent the unsuitability of his instrument becomes. That was the case with early synthesizer albums, which included covers of warm Latin tunes to absurd effect. With three originals, including an update of "Off Shore," and his most sophisticated use of external sounds yet, this may be Diamond's career high mark. But he needs hipper compositions and arrangements.

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