BAY 50CD - Check The Water (BAY 50CD)
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Check The Water by Various Artists
Formats: Double CD (BAY 50CD) Digital (BAY 50EX)
Release Date: 7 November 2005

Celebrating the anniversary of any record label is always a strange thing, as the quality of releases are down to the bands the label chooses to work with. Still, ten years feels like a bit of a milestone. That’s especially true for The Leaf Label, which was launched by ex-4AD press officer Tony Morley in 1995 with no defined goal to even exist beyond the first 12", and whose 100 releases over the past decade hold little in common besides a united focus of artistry and innovation, exploring the places where electronica, jazz, classical, rock, folk and pop music meet. Leaf has continually offered up some of the most interesting music from across the planet, always celebrating artistic individuality, and was recently honoured by the influential US publication XLR8R as one of the 25 Best Independent Labels in the world.

A double CD retrospective compilation available at a special price, Check The Water is a celebration of The Leaf Label, and is released to coincide with a series of anniversary shows in London (October 25-29, 2005), featuring many of the musicians who have moulded the label’s sound over the years. Sequenced broadly chronologically, the album includes a stack of unabashed classics from the recent catalogue, including A Hawk and a Hacksaw's emotional cover of the anti-war folk standard ‘Portlandtown’, Murcof’s deadly 'Mir', Colleen’s found-sound lullaby ‘Babies’, the upbeat electronic pop of Psapp's 'Curuncula', Efterklang's uplifting 'Step Aside', Hanne Hukkelberg's honeyed 'Ease', and 'Apple or a Gun', a taste of what's to come from the label's latest signing, Chicago trio volcano!. They’ve also taken the chance to dip a little further back, pulling a few long-deleted gems from the vaults, including Boymerang's still sensational 'The Don' (Graham Sutton's first post-Bark Psychosis outing, and the reason the label's here in the first place), Caribou's party-rockin' 'Tits & Ass' (originally a B-side), Four Tet's 'Field' (Kieran Hebden's first ever release under the Four Tet name), a hard-to-find piece by the more experimental Icarus (from their self-released Misfits album), and an unreleased mix of 'A Grain Of Sand' by the wonderfully peculiar Sons Of Silence, as well as our favourites from Susumu Yokota, Faultline, Boom Bip & Doseone, PJ Harvey sideman Rob Ellis and, as they say, many, many more. Twenty-nine tracks in two and a half hours.

There's enough warmth, melody, playfulness and passion here to distinguish Leaf from its contemporaries. Hell, a lot of this stuff still sounds like nothing else. The label continues to evade classification and build on its enviable reputation, with an ear for a tune and an eye on a desirable artefact.

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CD 1
1. The Don (Edit) - Boymerang
2. Pass Agent - Luger
3. A Grain Of Sand - The Sons Of Silence
4. Morino Gakudan - Susumu Yokota
5. Field - Four Tet
6. Prostate Boogie (Edit) - Gripper
7. Pienso Que - Richard Thomas
8. Swarm - Eardrum
9. El Mariachi Loco (The Siesta) - A Small Good Thing
10. The Rhythm! The Message? - Beige
11. Tiny Consumer - Faultline
12. Theme From Cardinal Menthol - Keiron Phelan & David Sheppard
13. Symphonies Of Wind Up Instruments: (II) Chrondine / (III) Parade In Your Palm - Rob Ellis
14. Moth To The Flame - Gorodisch
15. Tits & Ass: The Great Canadian Weekend - Caribou
CD 2
1. Mir - Murcof
2. The Birdcatcher's Return - Boom Bip & Doseone
3. We'll Live Free (In NYC) - Clue To Kalo
4. Babies - Colleen
5. Shadow Traffic - 310
6. Skate Glug - Icarus
7. The Dust Of Months - Bill Wells, Stefan Schneider, Annie Whitehead and Barbara Morgenstern
8. Curuncula - Psapp
9. Step Aside - Efterklang
10. Two; Twelve - Triosk
11. Portlandtown - A Hawk And A Hacksaw
12. Ease - Hanne Hukkelberg
13. Alma Hueco - Sutekh
14. Apple Or A Gun - volcano!