“How to Be Clear” (by Landing)
vets Landing have come
back to roost at Strange Attractors after a couple of amazing space-gaze
albums on K Records. Since the
release of 2004's somnolent pop masterpiece Sphere, a shift
in personnel occurred when founding member Dick Baldwin moved on. Recruiting
longtime friend and frequent tour mate Peter Baumann to fill the gap on
synthesizer, the shift in chemistry incited a turn in the band's overall
perspective and approach to their music. Eschewing their time-tested songwriting
method, Landing allowed a confluence of textures and influences
to flow outward from each member, and after many rehearsals, a common
interplay previously forged in the studio was left to blossom organically
on its own accord. Compositionally, the end result is elaborately textured,
patient, and hypnotic music of profound intimacy. Their seventh full length
album in seven years, Brocade is a turning point for
Landing, one that simultaneously harkens back to their roots as hushed
drone rockers while journeying onwards into starkly minimalist, utterly
Reverting inward after some of their sunny travels into headspace, Brocade touches on early Krautrock rhythms while delving into traditional psychedelic ambient music. Barring a few instrumental overdubs, Brocade was performed live in the studio, resulting in an airy sort of freedom not felt since the gauzy bliss-out improvisation captured on Fade In/Fade Out or moments from their second album Oceanless. In every manifestation, it is a tour-de-force of minimalism, utilizing repeating patters that slowly and steadily develop shape as they float in and out of a barbiturate fog. In the early moments of the album, as fireballs of feedback and effects unfurl into the exquisitely Faust-like drum and bass repetitions of opener "Loft", it would seem that rock and roll would prevail even as the tune winds through increasingly lush terrain, swelling in size as more instrumental streams enter the flow. Placid waters emerge, however, as the drums drop out and Brocade turns into a study in atmospherics with the swelling pulse-and-drone of "Yon" and the shimmering, wispy ripples of "Spiral Arms". After the hazy overdrive of "How to Be Clear", Landing immerse themselves in sparse ambience as conjured by Eno's On Land or Harold Budd's glistening works, floating away with the aptly-named closer "Music For Three Synthesizer".
With five compositions stretching out to form 54 minutes of music, Brocade is an elegiac lament for Landing's past, and an introspective yearning towards a glistening new phase in their career.
How to Be Clear by Landing is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.