If Sing Leaf’s new album feels like it’s caught between worlds it’s because it’s intended to be just that. As its title suggests, this is music for another place, existing as its own cosmos, a colourful work of strange sounds and visions, pulled from the mind and movements of its signature creator, Toronto-based, David Como. Released via Tin Angel Records, the new Sing Leaf album offers a spellbinding journey through eight inspired and beautifully idiosyncratic tracks.
Featuring a home-recorded blend of folk-rock and psychedelic pop that incorporates electronics, Sing Leaf is the project of David Como, a persistent and prolific songwriter. Not Earth was written in Como’s home, brave new worlds created from the quiet and comfort of his own domestic life. As always, Como plays every instrument on the record, recording, mixing, editing all the work himself before sending the songs to frequent musical confidant Sandro Perri, who also mastered the record.
Initially built around the idea of a “disney, sci-fi, alien landscape vision”, Not Earth also finds a balance in its more meditative moments; for every jagged moment of inspired eccentricity, a stretch of measured stillness. “Music for me has never been about crafting the best sounding song, or even the most appealing song,” Como says. “It’s more about honouring the spark. If I can block out the other noise and not think about where a song will end up, or who will hear it, then I can follow that and it’s like the song is just coming through me.”
Wanting to work on pure inspiration alone, Como relied on gut instinct, allowing songs to come and go, to be penned in half-thought and stay that way, learning to trust the sparks of creativity as they came to him. “The song “Forever Green” came into my head fully-formed while sitting in the backseat, on a road trip with my wife,” he says, an example of this process. “I was looking out the window and I just started receiving the song. Within minutes it was there, completely. Where did it come from? Why did it come to me? You can’t think about it or ask about it, you just submit to it or you lose the song.” As such, there’s an expected ebb and flow to Not Earth, the whole thing drifting between tender ditties such as ‘Little Magic’ before spiralling off into the more experimental pastures found on the likes of “Magnetic” or the multi-layered closing-track “Out Of The Dream”.
Informed both by the written work of Richard Brautigan (“I’ve always tried to align my life with that feeling I found in his books; the strange, psychedelic, childlike-wonder”) and the murky magic of Mark Linkous, who Como cites his biggest inspiration (“You could tell he wasn’t self-editing too much, always just following the inspiration…”). Not Earth is both a reflection of the lush, deep world that provides its hand-painted cover art – Tarot imagery and all – and also a reflection of the unique mind who brought the whole thing into fruition.
“If we’re here on Earth, then what is not Earth?,” Como asks. “Old principles from old treatises; polarity, vibration, rhythm… I was playing with a lot of different energies and ideas, placing them in the art and in the lyrics. But if you don’t see or hear them it doesn’t matter – as long as you see or hear something.”