"Chromacolor" is one of those records that immediately feels like home even though it is hard to locate stylistically. Written and recorded by Hanno Leichtmann in Berlin and Madeira between 2020 and 2022, it draws on rhythmic minimalism as a guiding principle and might call to mind organic, instrument-based ambient music, but also incorporates jazzy moments as well as Annie Garlids multi-layered vocals that permeate through these nine pieces.
The foundation for Leichtmann's Chromacolor project was laid when the prolific Berlin-based producer, musician, and drummer borrowed a vibraphone and a Fender Rhodes from two friends. Combining their unique sonic affordances with those of a Guitaret, an electric lamellophone, he further expanded his sound palette by inviting other musicians—Anthea Caddy, Sabine Vogel, Tobias Delius, Els Vandeweyer, Sabine Ercklentz, Andrede, Mike Majkowski, Andrei Ladeishchikov, Oona Farchy, Gonçalo Caboz as well as Rafael and Hugo Andrade—to play small but vital parts in the production of the album.
The opener "Kisses and Wine" masterfully sets the tone for an album that is as inviting as it is challenging. Working with relaxed repetitive rhythms, Garlid's anthemic vocals and a sprinkle of saxophone and flute tones courtesy of Delius and Vogel, respectively, as well as tender piano notes played by Leichtmann, it evokes a lot with only few means: a certain melancholy, but also an elevated atmosphere that feels both exuberant and restrained.
Leichtmann's elegant study of the power of repetition, minute rhythmic shifts and subtle use of melodic and harmonic elements creates ambiguities and polyvalences like these throughout the entire record, up until its understated finale, aptly titled "A Beautiful Day"—a drone-jazz piece, if you will, both longing and joyful.
As an album, "Chromacolor" is hard to pigeonhole, but rich and rewarding. All it takes is immersing yourself in it.
Chromacolor is a project from the German sound artist and producer Hanno Leichtmann (also member of the bands Groupshow
, with Jan Jelinek
and Andrew Pekler
, and Denseland, with David Moss and Hannes Strobl).