Where Life Begins

Larry Heard

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Where Life Begins Review

by Joshua Glazer

Anyone who doubts the musicality of house producers would do well to listen to Larry Heard. Throughout his 15-year career, Heard has cultivated his own signature style of deep and slow beats that don't rely on the usual Afrobeat samples or live instrumentation to prove their depth. Instead, Heard is one of the blessed few who can truly draw soul and spirituality from strictly electronic forms. And very minimal electronic forms at that.

This album, recorded for Detroit label Trackmode, features yet another eight selections to add to Heard's oeuvre. All of the familiar elements are here. The slow and steady kick, the simple and repetitive bassline, and the ever so slight of melodic garnishment -- usually in the form of a lightly tapped cymbal or softly bleeping keyboard. "Change Your Mind" and "Free" might feature vocals by the man himself, but they are buried so deep in the mix that they barely effect the sturdy groove. On paper, it sounds oh-so-terribly boring. But experiencing tracks like "Daze of Phaze" or "The Secret Place" is like listening to the deep baritone of an age-wizened storyteller. You might know the tale, but it's the pure soul in the voice that keeps you listening.

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