The Soft White Hand


Double LP version. Gatefold. Includes download. Felix Laband's The Soft White Hand is the masterwork of an artist who expresses himself through musical and artistic collage acting together to reinterpret his sources and to express significant elements of his own personal story. Released by Munich-based Compost Records, the 14-track album is Laband's first full-length offering since the critically acclaimed Deaf Safari in 2015 (COMP 470CD/LP). In The Soft White Hand, Laband works with source materials that will be familiar to those who know his previous four records. However, the disengagement he felt from his homeland during his latest album's creation -- an abiding sense of untethered-ness to place and space, exquisitely rendered in tracks like "Death of a Migrant" -- is perceptible in Laband's desire to illuminate instead aspects of his own life. Few artists have managed to air these intimate aspects of their life so luminously as Laband does in tracks like "5 Seconds Ago", "They Call Me Shorty", and in the strange and meditative "Dreams Of Loneliness". Yet, as in all of Laband's recorded output, the delineations between emotions are never starkly drawn and The Soft White Hand is also shot through with beauty. Nature appears in recordings made in his garden in the intimate early morning hours, whether as in the calls of the Hadada Ibis and other birdsong in "Prelude" or of the vertical-tail-cocking bird in "Derek And Me". The last is a wonderful track with Derek Gripper, the South African experimental classical guitarist of international renown, whose 2020 song "Fanta And Felix" imagines a meeting between Fanta Sacko and Laband. Laband's eloquence in reinterpreting classical composers such as Beethoven in "We Know Major Tom's A Junkie" is another thrilling aspect of the new record. A fresh quality comes to his work through this sonic adventuring: the tender manipulation of the mundaneness of the computer's AI voice to reimagine and reinvent iconic lyrics and melodies in strange and unexpected configurations. The Soft White Hand is Laband's most cohesive body of work to date. Yet it remains, in its sheer artistic scope, impossible to describe fully. Darkness abuts the gossamer light. His music reflects a primal artistic impulse that is also visible in Laband's considerable visual art output as seen in several solo exhibitions. With The Soft White Hand, Laband is confirming his singular ability to achieve this in both art and music, melting the divisions between the two creative disciplines until they become one.