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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.

 

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Review of the Day

MICROSTORIA, "MODEL 3, STEP 2"
Jan St. Werner (of Mouseon Mars) and Markus Popp (of Oval) have cooked up a third offering of glitchy, cryptic ambience for us, this time without all the rhetoric about music as software and digital revolutions in musical composition. "Nine excursions into the world of downtempo speedcore," as Thrill Jockey's webpage puts it, but to me it sounded like the drones and rumbles that were so fascinating on Mouse on Mars' "Instrumentals" providing an unappreciated undercurrent to Popp's software-generated quirks, bleeps, and glitches. Now and then it resembles a fully realized orchestral work mangled into utter unrecognizability by its composers' computers.
Your reaction to "model 3, step 2" will no doubt be determined by your attitude towards Popp and his studies in computer-generated incoherence. If you're the chin-stroking type who plumbed the fascinating depths of "94diskont," "Dok," and "Ovalprocess" and came back hungry for more, then this will probably prove rewarding after a few listens, or at least briefly interesting. "Dok," the result of another Popp collaboration (with Toyko's Christophe Charles), shimmered with an organic beauty that fails to materialize here; likewise, the weird sonic explorations and occasional thematic coherence that made Microstoria's "INIT DING" worthwhile just aren't apparent. The result is neither compelling nor essential.

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