COURTESY OF CHOICE
ALBUM XL, SOURCE, VIRGIN RELEASE: AUGUST 28, 2000 REVIEW: OCTOBER 18, 2000
This is a weird album. Persian born Leila has an impressive CV, that includes DJ:ing, playing keyboards in Björk's live band, and releasing records on Rephlex, the label run by madhat Richard James of Aphex Twin.
The later is possibly an explanation for why her new album, "Courtesy of Choice", sounds like it does. It is over all laid-back, but nevertheless so full of cacophony it makes you dizzy. The first few listens are plainly confusing - it takes a while for the ears and mind to adjust to the almost labyrinthine sound. But with a little patience, the music soon blossoms out to reveal its real traits. Leila's world is one of spluttering breakbeats, mean jazz and cute little melodies doomed to lose themselves amidst the nasty dub effects.
Three of Leila's friends help her out with the singing. A great deal of the vocal parts sound like utterly warped lounge music - crooning for after hours bars in a galaxy far, far away. Here is also the demented "Thanks, Mr Jones", cartoonish jazz attacked by vicious waves of distortion. And on "Different Time", Warp act Plaid help out by injecting a further dose of out electronics, and further add to the feel that a compass should probably be needed to navigate safely through this album.