Digital DJ/Producer Leon Lamont made a name for himself as a live breakbeat drummer on the downtown, New York-music scene playing with such artists as Melvin Gibbs, Vernon Reid, DJ Logic, Marc Ribot, Graham Haynes, Biz Markie, Dead Prez, Anti-Pop Consortium, Chocolate Genius, Medeski- Martin & Wood and Joshua Redman.
Lamont’s introduction to the underground experimental New York scene came when he was transplanted from St. Louis, Missouri to New York by Rope-a-dope records to perform on DJ Logics debut release Project Logic.
After supporting DJ Logic as the drummer for Project Logic’s first US tour, Lamont returned to New York and produced his solo release on Wordsound Recordings titled Breakbeat Mechanic. On Breakbeat Mechanic, Lamont produced a non-conventional Experimental Drum & Bass record by composing all of the music on a midi sequencer and drumming the breaks live at 170BPM without the use of any phrase samplers.
Following Lamont’s Breakbeat Mechanic European tour, CD turntables entranced the artist. Beginning as a vinyl DJ, Lamont was drawn to CD turntables because of the ability to spin his own productions and create artist interactive original DJ sets. Rooted in the genres of Experimental Hip-Hop and Drum & Bass, DJ Leon Lamont is what All Music Guide calls “the difference between an artist and just another beat monger”.
DJ Logic Presents Project Logic
Return of Kill Doge E
What sets St.Louis Native Leon Lamont apart from the morass of drum 'n' bass producers out there is an eye for detail, an intense energy, and an idiosyncratic sound. He plays many of his beats live-in fact, he has been known to give two-hour performances of his work. As such, his songs ( as opposed to 'tracks') possess a structural complexity that shame most of the repetitous workouts that pass for drum'n'bass these days.
Yet Breakbeat Mechanic isn't jungle pressure all the way through. With Producer Scotty Hard, Lamont injects hefty shots of hip-hop attitude and abstract electronic thinking into the mix. "Bubblegum Ape Law" starts off with a rolling downtempo mood before exploding into dynamic, groovy hyper-jazz, while "Mockery" sounds like an attack by a swarm of killer robots as remixed by Method Man. And then, "Dust" is pure late-night blues flavor.
But it's the straight-ahead drum'n'bass numbers that work best here; "Johnetta and June", "American Black", and "ILLness" beguiling with the sort of fractal arrangements that would confuse even the most hardcore mathematician. Proof, if proof need be, that Leon Lamont is most certainly moving to his own unique rhythm.
January 24-30, 2001
Volume 25, Number 4
Old schoolers may recognize the name Leon Lamont from his drum work with the T.H.U.G.S. in the early and mid-90's, but that was long ago, and since then his style has transformed from bang-boom metalhead pounding into utterly amazing, inspired drum & bass. On "Breakbeat Mechanic", Lamont has created a strange and powerful amalgam of synthetic and live-time drumming, and the result is skillful and engaging. Using drums, MIDI tracks and a sequencer, Lamont creates live what most drum & bass producers are only able to make with the aid of computers: thick, 170-bpm breakbeat breakdowns. The record was released on the Wordsound label out of New York( hip-hoppers know this as the home of MC Paul Barman) where Lamont was living until recently. While there, he hooked up and toured with DJ Logic(Medeski, Martin and Wood's DJ), performed with the Cold Crush Brothers during a reunion gig and collaborated with , among others, Anti-Pop Consortium, Dr. Israel, Dead Prez and Chocolate Genius. Lamont has returned to St.Louis, and he deserves to be recognized as one of the city's most accomplished percussionists; you can welcome him back when he performs live breakbeat and drum & bass from behind his kit, as well as with sequencers and a MIDI setup, at the Galaxy this Sunday. Highly recommended.
The people making the best drum'n'bass music in 2000 are those who've figured out that it really isn't about dancing, so there's no need to aim it at the lowest common denominator. On the American scene, most of the best drum'n'basss is coming out of Brooklyn, where hip-hop, illbient, dub, and jungle have been stewing together for years and artists like Dr. Israel, Scarab, and Roots Control have been bubbling to the surface.
Leon Lamont comes from a more classical place, in that his version of drum'n'bass tends to stick to the breakbeat verities rather than drawing on multiple genres.
But he's also more classical in the sense that composers like Edgard Varese and Karlheinz Stockhausen are classical: Although he never abandons the groove (the way fellow experimenters like Spring Heel Jack are wont to do), he does get pretty abstract and experimental within the confines of his rhythmic structure.
If Roni Size and Datach'i got together, the result might sound like this.
"Bubblegum Ape Lawfeatures a loping, mid-tempo breakbeat that chugs along under what sound like a collection of industrial sounds and an electric piano before whipping off into robotic jungle; "Illness" obliterates a brief trip-hop intro with a bracing dose of no-frills funk and, strangely, what almost sound like pizzicato strings.
"Mockery" opens with maniacal laughter and then builds a slow-simmering groove around the rhythm of that laughter.
It's that kind of attention to detail that makes the difference between an artist and just another beatmonger.
Leon Lamont will fix you up nicely with fast past
Breaks and cheerful, quirky melody. He ( along with
Co-producer Scotty Hard) also provides some
F***ed up break patterns and weird sounds to keep
Things interesting. Track five, ILLness is truly sick,
With metallic breaks that sound like a live drum kit,
Along with plenty of weird sounds that will remind
You of those cheap Casio keyboard melodies.
Breakbeat Mechanic is very experimental but doesn’t
Get too dark and keeps most of the rhythms stable for
the dancefloor. This is definitely not a standard
, run-of-the-mill drum n bass album.
Of course that’s why we are recommending that you
Check it out for yourself. (Blips)
Drum and Bass: the splintered group of the techno genre. Originated by "Jungle" music, this group of electronica is informed by hip-hop aesthetics, boasted by masculine ragga vocals and rumbling low-end basslines. Drum and bass was once the ruiling music of any dancefloor in London. Like any other so-called underground music, its eventual absorption by the mainstream is inevitable. In late mid to late 90's drum and bass has proliferated the mainstream. So much so, from pop song to commercial jingles, they all sport jungle and drum and bass breaks. It is no coincidence: with illuminaries such as Goldie and Roni Size's Reprazent's effort taking the pop chart by storm, it's no wonder that drum and bass has indeed gone soft.While many diehards left the scene in favour of the bludgeoning trance scene, drum and bass seems faltered in its intensity: Roni Size/Reprazent are enjoying their newfound stardom, Goldie can be found more easily in tabloids than music press and concerns his next movie role rather than his next album. Even more serious drum and bass practitioner Photek (Rupert Parks) has gone trance in his new album "Solaris". Leon Lamont's "Breakbeat Mechanic" is indeed a strong testament to the vengeful return of drum and bass: the beats are hard and intense with complex yet ferocious arrangements. Lamont is a drummer who used to play heavy metal, became a drum and bass devotee after the breakup of his band. Lamont has been playing with a number of avant-funk units in the New York downtown scene such as DJ Logic, Medeski, Martin and Wood and many others."Breakbeat Mechanic" is a virtuosi display of his skills on both the sticks and producing as a whole. While the bass, synth and other melodic loops might be sequenced; all the drumming on the album were recorded live in the studio. The album sports a complex and tight programming and arrangement. While most drum and bass tracks concern with only the groove and the basslines (rightfully so), Lamont's sound is typified by the tasteful use of loops and samples. There are twists and turns at every choruses: guaranteed to put the listener on a roller-coaster ride.From the rumbling and grunts of the low-end bass to the phuturistic blips and squeaks, the music is exuberant an active. Perhaps the real star of the show is Lamont's drumming. Make no mistake: Lamont is no show-off. "Breakbeat Mechanic"'s drumming shows Lamont's deep understand of drum and bass. While many drum and bass producers opted for computers and sequencers for complex rhythmic matrices, Lamont did it all on his drumkits. There is a wide range of dynamics coaxed by Lamont on his kits. The opening blast of "Johnetta and June" is a true testament of Lamont' skills. The disc moved through hardstep and other drum and bass splinter stylings to serving up mysterious trip hop style down tempo with deep rumbling basslines. There is no "filler" track as such that one listener will be mesmerized by the high-intensity drumming with swirling arrangements. Try the vinyl version with different track listing will take you on a thrill trip into another dimension; turntablists takes heed: the tracks are so slamming, you can forget about those "Jungle Toolz" break records: Lamont's groove serves up groove just as well for scratching tracks surely give any turntablist wrist a run for money.While UK junglist may have diminished in terms of their output, but Lamont show that counterpart across the ocean can groove just as hard. Like a teletubby screaming "Again, again" when hit upon something cool, any junglist should shout "rewind, rewind" after hearing "Breakbeat Mechanic" again and again.
Copyright (C) 2001 The Music Forum - Hong Kong
Alternative Press # 155-June 2001
High Octane drum & bass performance
Dispelling the swampy darkness that typifies most Wordsound Recordings, NYC-by-way-of St. Louis drummer Lamont’s Debut album crackles with bright, kinetic energy. It’s hard to believe that Breakbeat Mechanic was played live without the aid of samplers, since some of Lamont’s beats are so fast and ferocious, they fry the circuits of your average beatbox. Lamont keeps things interesting by peppering jungle uber-rythms with hip-hop (“Bubblegum Ape Law”, “Mockery”) and jazz (“Dust”) touches. I had given up waiting for jungle’s saving grace these past few years, but Breakbeat Mechanic has captivated my mind (and my feet) enough to give me hope in this rarely visited genre.-Jason Olariu
URB # 084
With the instinct and direction that stems from his history as a live percussionist, Leon Lamont’s newest release bangs with pendulum-like swings between abstract hip-hop and experimental drum & bass. Touted as being a “live” band, the sound on Breakbeat Mechanic is simple while complex, analog while digital. Co-producer Scotty Hard’s sometimes repetitive synth tactics can be more of a detriment than a contribution. Although the formula used to construct the album tends to wear a bit thin in places, there are enough live double-time breakbeats and breakdowns to make this worthwile to fans of thoughtful , experimental drum & bass.
XLR8R # 49
With drum & bass firmly in factory-formula mode, it’s refreshing to see an outsider to the scene like former heavy metal drummer Lamont explore the form. His all-too-human pounding on this solo debut brings brings a slightly loping effect to the breaks that complement co-producer Scotty Hards’ freaky effects and keyboard arrangements. Fans of Jega and other moderate mid-phase- Rephlex “drill & bass” types will thrill to cartoonish fervor of “ Johnetta & June “ and the blurpy keys of “ American Black.”
The bottom line: these arrangements clamp on to the beats of Lamont ( who’s gigged with DJ Logic, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and Vernon Reid) and ride those bastards to the knife edge of chaos. You looking at me?