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Landing, "Brocade"

Landing's latest full length album is more of a single symphony than five separate tracks; Brocade is not a song-based album but one long continuous work. The music unwinds at a leisurely pace and is best appreciated all in one sitting.


Strange Attractors

Brocade is largely instrumental (only "How to be Clean" has any vocals) and is bathed in analog synthesizers with lots of guitar effects. There's an unmistakable '70s prog rock sound going on and the pure synths on "Music for Three Synthesizers" are very '80s sounding to me, but Landing keeps it modern and fresh, without playing like they're simply digging up old rock corpses. The music is hypnotic, repetitive, and layered, but by no means dull or heavy.


Despite the building layers it has a very open and spacious feel, a feel which is reinforced by titles like "Loft" and "Yon," bringing up images of empty skies and vast distances (echoed as well in the rather barren landscape on the album's cover). "Spiral Arms" is similarly well-named; if you could put a galaxy into sound, it might just sound like this. The static buzz carried over from "Yon" gives way to delicate acoustic guitar and electronic swoops and blowing winds. "How to be Clean" is a rocker and adds enough movement and energy to the mix to keep this guitar-rock girl happy.

I found it difficult to listen to Brocade at work; in addition to the usual cube farm noise and coworker interruptions, Winamp's pauses between tracks made the transitions jarring, most notably between "Yon" and "Spiral Arms" and between "Spiral Arms" and "How to be Clean." This is one to listen to at home with a glass of wine in a darkened room or on a long lonely car trip, and it's certainly not one for the iPod Shuffle.

 

The Eye: Video of the Day

Antony

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Review of the Day

Blevin Blectum, "Magic Maple"


Praemedia
I'm quite sure a devilish tailor is making its way through my eardrums every time I put this record on. It's not that there's anything evil about this record; but every instance of sound is a rapidly moving panorama of subconscious and dream-like sounds accelerated through time and set to explode upon aural reception. Blevin Blectum's newest record plays like a billion ping pong balls shot into a room about three inches wide and tall. The result is a barrage of micro-sounds that weave themselves together to make patterns of pseudo-melody and hushed excursions into the clouded heart of glass machines. At times Magic Maple is propelled by a turbine engine bent on choking some kind of rhythm out of the random chaos of sounds assembled into each song and at other times it's a playful cascade of rushing sounds, skipping semi-percussion, time-distorted bits of radio interference, various vocal samples, and unknown instruments bent and snapped into unrecognizable alien keyboards. Blectum's songs never fall into any recognizable format nor do they rely on any one technique; each song plays like a small portion of something greater that, if it could all be heard at once, would reveal some grand, majestic schematic that can only be hinted at when received through typical, human ears. What's more, Blectum's chaos is catchy: at times a xylophone or inter-dimensional steel drum fades in and out of the mix to reveal bits of repeated melody and mutant rhythms that never quite find their own pace. It's an addicting kind of music because it doesn't look to typical song structures to make it enjoyable, but it also doesn't go overboard and exist somewhere on the edge of sonic tolerance and pure experimental recording. It's almost pointless to talk about these songs individually; most of the time I can't tell where one song ends and the next begins. Everything fits together perfectly, but the whole album modulates within itself and never gets boring or frustrating in all its bouncing glory. The end of the album, however, is particularly outstanding and there are moments when just the smallest changes made by Blectum are breathtaking. Of course, these moments don't last long because she just never bothers to sit still.

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