Alternative Light Source is the third album by the English electronic group Leftfield, released on 8 June 2015. It is the first new material following the band's 1999 album Rhythm and Stealth.
The Matrix and Fight Club were in theaters the last time Leftfield released an album, and in those 16 years, the former duo lost a member as Paul Daley has moved on to a solo career, leaving Neil Barnes the sole proprietor. In spite of this, 2015's Alternative Light Source picks up right where 1999's Rhythm and Stealth left off, and it does so without ignoring the modern sound. "Head and Shoulders," a wobbly highlight that recalls LFO or Mr. Oizo, brings in current group the Sleaford Mods to help bring the album up to time with an indie "dandruff warriors" rap, while Channy Leaneagh of Poliça is an asset to her two tracks, wailing like a progressive house siren should during "Bilocation" and expertly auditioning for Underworld on the robot dancefloor wonder dubbed "Little Fish." The winding "Bad Radio" with Tunde Adebimpe is heavenly, Gary Numan-esque, and a bit like being in a Blade Runner character's head, and yet the complicated number is a perfect example of how Barnes is true to the Leftfield aesthetic, as all these guests are surrounded by dark and spacy house music, sometimes epic and sometimes intricate. The lack of urgency is also welcome, with Alternative Light Source slowly unfurling as the most natural and comfortable Leftfield album to date, and one confident enough to exit on "Levitate for You," a bold and bare R&B song somewhere between Prince and 4hero.
From 1999 until now, 2015, it took a long time for Leftfield to get back and they are up to par as far as their only other two albums, Rhythm and Stealth and Leftism, which I have. Not really missing much of a beat. Their first album, Leftism, is their best in my opinion but this one has some great tracks, such as 'Bilocation', the standout track, a 10 out of 10. 'Head and Shoulders' is a blast (watch the video). 'Little Fish' is laced with intricate spooky electronic sounds, sped up and slowed down and voices distorted, its a 9 out of 10, very creative venture, you feel like your head is going to blow off by the end of it. 'Storms End' could be used as a soundtrack to a mind bender of a movie, as the credits role up, and you are scratching your head trying to understand what the hell just happened and are afraid to go to bed. What they can do with electronics now is truly amazing.
A1 Bad Radio A2 Universal Everything
B1 Bilocation B2 Head And Shoulders B3 Dark Matters
C1 Little Fish C2 Storms End
D1 Alternative Light Source D2 Shaker Obsession D3 Levitate For You
Recorded at: Activity On The Line | Eastcote Studio | Pan West Mastered at Alchemy Mastering Ltd.
Album cover image: School (Classroom), 1989 by Mark Walinger Courtesy the artist and Collection CAM-Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.