Image: AM Gordon
Maymind, the moniker of LA based musician / producer / DJ Leo Maymind, returns with a complex, deep groove left-field electronic gem ‘Left To My Own Devices’, lifted from his album ‘June’ out now.
‘Left To My Own Devices’ is a gorgeous and, at times, intelligent fusion of cinematic and widescreen sonics. With the album, Maymind has managed to perfectly balance understated undertones with soaring, uplifting production, and masterful sound design.
Leo explains: “There’s a story in ‘Left to My Own Devices,’ though like a lot of the best stories, I don’t think you need to understand exactly what the story is to understanding what the feeling is. In some ways it’s a love letter to both the canon of American electronic music and my younger self, giving that person a way forward, saying that all the struggles were worth it, to keep going. I think a lot of the journey of making June was trying to find this middle zone in between headphone listening and straight on club music.”
He goes on to add: “For ‘Left to My Own Devices’, I kept on resisting the urge to take the basic idea and turn it into a full on club track, but instead this version of the track (which is essentially how the first version of it was arranged) is what I stuck with. A friend described it as ‘super articulate, hyper produced’ which I feel like is an apt description for how I make music. While it’s still essentially loop based music, there’s an extreme precision to how each track is taking its own voyage.”
Born in Riga, Latvia when it was still under Soviet rule, raised in New Orleans and across the Midwest, a feeling of ‘otherness’ has always felt normal to Maymind. Leo recalls: “I never had a real ‘home’ growing up. My home was in my headphones. Seeing street performers play jazz in the New Orleans’ French Quarter left indelible marks on my young soul.”
A restless musical curiosity led Maymind to move to New York City after college in hopes of expanding his “band” Spanish Prisoners, a solo project that Maymind created in the hopes of collaboration. In 2015, after quietly switching modes and swapping his guitar for a sampler, Maymind resurfaced on Adam Marshall’s steely New Kanada label with a three-track EP of Detroit-flavored techno that crammed bright details into its every corner.
In 2016, a move to Los Angeles signaled another change in approach for Maymind, when a computer crash forced him to limit his gear to a small tabletop hardware setup. The result was Maymind’s first full-length album ‘Illumina’ (Umor Rex, 2017), which blended flanged, wiry drums with thick ambient pads and malleable synth trills; drawing praise and radio play from WFMU, the Wire, Red Bull Radio, and more.
Maymind‘s 2018 album ‘Cheap Storage’ on Atlantic Rhythms was described by PITCHFORK as ‘sharp and focused’ with ‘gratifying soundscapes that are easy to sink into’. The multifaceted artist continues his foray forward in the form of ‘June’, a complex, fascinating body of work out now. Leo says: “These songs subtly point to all the things I’ve loved at various points of my life- R&B, house, disco, sample-based electronic music, spiritual jazz and much more. To me, this album just feels like a complete sentence- something I’ve been trying to say for years but didn’t quite have the vocabulary at the time.”