Only Taraxacum's opening title track uses a typical 4/4 drum pattern. It's the sound of Knowles dropping breadcrumbs, leading us into a forest of more novel patterns after setting a dubby tone. "Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger" follows with a beautiful, polyrhythmic mess of shaker, flute, hand drums and stuttering kicks, which snaps into focus around a deft bass guitar performance. "Untitled" does away with all but a hint of percussion, and yet it's utterly rhythmic. It's the clearest example of the casual streak that runs through Taraxacum, many of whose tracks unfold, pull you in and then end abruptly, like a friend who never overstays their welcome.
Even if he's not one for dramatic statements, Knowles creates complex worlds here. Take "Air, Light, Time, Space"—its rhythmic constants are a two-note piano line and a choppy two-step kick, with a dizzying array of wheezing, plucked chords springing up around those simple elements. "An Elephant Madness" is even more impressive: Morr Music-style melodic optimism mixes with bin-rattling low-end, before the mix is overwhelmed with an unsettling percussive chord that evokes Steve Reich's phased repetition.
Leif is a rare triple-threat, adept with hopeful melody, dub atmosphere and twitchy UK rhythms. His approach so clearly lets the music shine that it's tough to find a critical angle. This gimmick-free production style is refreshing, and has given us enduring cuts like 2013's "Circumstance 4" and 2015's "Life Through Analogies." And now there's Taraxacum, a record that subtly pushes the boundaries of atmospheric house while clinging to the genre's essential mood. You'd be hard pressed to find a deep house record much like it.