Larry Heard

Love's Arrival

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Larry Heard, one of the few electronic musicians whose place in the firmament has been assured ever since the late '80s, has had the freedom to make any kind of record he wants. Love's Arrival benefits from his supreme confidence in an ability to get the maximum amount of emotion from a collection of simple, unadorned productions. Except for one background vocal, Heard is responsible for every note of Love's Arrival, from the drum programs to the slowly shifting Rhodes keyboards, breezy vibes, and earthier piano solos to the sweet, airy vocals on many tracks. Often, he looks farther back than his house heritage, to the days of quiet storm and smooth '80s R&B he no doubt grew up with. The opener, "Praise," is a tender ode that makes direct Heard's religious feelings and reliance on God; each track after it, even the love ballads, can only benefit from the immense, honest feeling he puts into his vocals and production. The beats are deceptively simple, and Heard often layers only two or three instruments at a time over these tracks. The effect, though, is simply sublime, conveying a breath of fresh air into the increasingly stale world of electronic music, where less is never more and producers often spend more time destroying atmospheres than creating them. By no means a complex record -- at least according to the rules of contemporary electronica production -- Love's Arrival instead finds Larry Heard making an assured, emotional record of great electronic listening music.

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