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K. Leimer’s The Starting Errors serves as a handy index of catastrophes. The album documents the way in which the repetition of unexamined cultural behaviors spread as established—even acceptable—practice in the service of the few, no matter how damaging and destructive those practices prove. Music of conscience and consequence set within a general theme of things-gone-wrong, the album is built around a set of errors carefully indexed by the title track: a text-centric piece read by Tallula Bentley, exhibiting an ideological kinship with the work of Henry Cow, here set in an orchestral pastiche.
Vocal works are rare for Leimer, but using spoken words in addition to instrumental voices was the most direct path to making his views explicit. Throughout the album techniques surface from jazz-inflected improvisation to classic tape manipulation to granular processing and chamber ensemble airiness. The results catalog most of Leimer’s long history of sonic preoccupations, embracing broken song structures, dark ambience, noise, calamitous repetition, and modular constructs. He describes it this way: “The goal was to use a wide range of approaches, techniques and voicing to best express the subject matter of each piece. And, despite the thematic unity, the pieces evolved in many directions.”