A delicate collection of songs for losing yourself, a meditation on spiritual struggle, a window into the parallel reality of Justin Carter: The Leaves Fall is all of those things – and probably more. Centered on his intimate vocals, pointed with hints of Arthur Russell and John Martyn, the eight tracks are buttressed by warm acoustic guitars, vibraphones, and organs and flourished with modern production. They are familiar but distant, like ghosts living in the present. The Leaves Fall was written on and off over the course of about five years, a secret to most.
Carter is more familiar, alongside Eamon Harkin, as half of popular New York party and record label Mister Saturday Night. As the Mister thrived, his songwriting continued to tick along in the background, days and weeks stolen here and there to write and record in various locations – from remote studios in the Catskills to basements in Venice Beach. The haunting, contemplative "Know It All" is a curious first gaze into the album, not just showing a new side of Carter as an artist, but hinting at the layers still to be unraveled throughout the rest of the album.
The Leaves Fall features Jason Lindner, pianist on Bowie's final masterpiece, Blackstar; cello from Archie Pelago's Greg Heffernan; and programming by LIES and Trilogy Tapes producer Marcos Cabral. It was mixed by Benjamin Tierney, who also worked his magic on Kamasi Washington's The Epic.