Listen to Leeu’s debut album, Suid Tronica – Episode 1: Welcome To Leeu Island
I discovered Leeu (Alex Coetzee) through the Hadedah art collective, of which he forms part of alongside, Behr, Polarimpala and Pebuh. Hadedah caught my attention with their dinner experiment, Nerve. The event offered something different at a time where I felt there was a lack of distinction amongst the weekend experiences on offer in and around Johannesburg. Leeu played a dual role at the inaugural Nerve, performing live and preparing the three course meal – a curator of sound and taste.
Alex’s interest in creating music was initially founded on drumming. That interest evolved when he was handed a copy of FL Studio and introduced to the world of electronic music where he could “create a whole atmosphere of sound to tell a story instead of being limited to a single instrument.” This saw him begin his journey with electronic music producing hip-hop under the Lex orbit moniker and it took a three year trip to Norway to evolve into Leeu – “a persona and identity that he connects and associates with on a much deeper level”.
Welcome To Leeu Island is the first complete product of Leeu’s foray into a genre he has dubbed Suidtronica. The conceptual release sees Leeu both creating and exploring an aural landscape. What started as a 4 track EP grew into a journey which saw Leeu collaborating with various players in the South African alternative electronic sphere – exploring without boundaries.
My favourite track on the album, “ChimiChanga”, is also perhaps the most explorative with a playing length of almost ten minutes. The track sees Leeu collaborate with Thor Rixon, Andy Islands and Pano Roller in a nod to Leeu’s interest in cuisine. Andy Islands input is most apparent on “ChimiChanga” where he brings an upbeat nature to the sonically speculative Leeu Island with his danceable disco-inspired oscillations. The track came out of a light-hearted jam session where Pano Roller created basslines and different sounds on his effect pedals leaving the producers to build on and arrange the track.
Featured image by Jono Kay