The project's anonymity helps stoke the mystery. De Leon first surfaced on Aught, a concept label that released ten cassettes of shadowy, genre-crumbling music in 2014-15. The two De Leon tapes were the most striking, their slinky rhythmic science and exotica vibe paralleling Don't DJ's early releases. The sound has older proponents, too: the B2 of this mini-album resembles some of the archival tracks Burnt Friedman has been releasing lately. Both artists explore fluid polyrhythms using gossamer-light percussion; both draw on non-Western sounds and ideas to invigorate Western electronic idioms.
Perhaps it's just down to a good mastering job, but De Leon finds the project at its richest and most engrossing. Even with its brief runtime, this mini-LP presents a detailed and distinctive world. The A side lures you in gently. The longest track comes first, deploying clusters of sour bell-tone melody and, eventually, a flute solo, over intensifying drums. The energy picks up further on the A2, before dissolving into the swampier A3, where hints of moody melody are half-lost in the hiss. As with most Aught projects, the obscured quality is a big part of the music's power.
It also makes the album's bolder tracks, when they come, all the more rewarding. The B1 is the clear highlight, a moment where solid pulse and clear, emotive melody take over. On the closing track, meanwhile, you're sent to sleep by lilting rhythm and lullaby-like melody. Listen closer, though, and you'll notice layers of strange detail flickering at the edge of perception. De Leon leaves plenty of questions unanswered.