Landing - Brocade
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Certain types of music have long had general associations attached to them. Back when I was in college, my roommate and I were both really into electronic music (we both started getting listening around the early heydays of Warp Records and Plus 8), and on more than on occasion, when someone entered our room (which were admittedly usually decorated in strange ways as well), they would say, "you guys must do a lot of drugs" (oddly enough, neither of us did). For awhile, these responses amused us, but at a certain point they became a bit annoying as well.

I suppose the above statement is a bit of a roundabout way of wondering whether certain bands ever get annoyed with being coupled with certain associations (such as taking drugs), and the space rock genre in general (including Landing) have certainly gotten mixed into this category. Heck, you could go back to Pink Floyd and even further if you want to talk about bands where people have said that taking drugs not only helps in the enjoyment of the music, but is needed.

Anyway, on to Brocade, which is the seventh full-length release from Landing in seven years. After a couple albums on K Records, the prolific group (they've also released a couple EPs in that time period) finds themselves returning to the Strange Attractors label with their newest release, which finds founding member Dick Baldwin replaced by friend and tour mate Peter Baumann. The result is another tripped-out batch of five songs that run nearly an hour in length.

Recorded mostly live in the studio with a couple overdubs, Brocade has a warm feel that adds the the effect of the music quite nicely. Opener "Loft" locks into an almost krauty groove right from the start and the group layers short guitar arpeggios and some gurgles of synth into a tightly-wound jame while "Yon" mixes some female vocals into a dense, swirling fog of e-bowed guitar and synth washes. "Spiral Arms" mixes multiple guitar parts (some more e-bow, some strummed melodies) along with windswept synths and chimes that all sort of blend together into an appealing, if somewhat unfocused whole.

If the previous track was unfocused, then the growling, overdriven "How To Be Clean" is easily the most straightforward, with just over four minutes of fairly generic, fuzzy rock that pretty much dissolves into complete mud by the end. On the seventeen minute closer "Music For Three Synthesizers," it's back off into space-out land, with a track that's exactly as the title states. The sparse track brings to mind the sparse ambient work of Brian Eno, but mimics almost the exact feel of "Cliffs" by Aphex Twin (from Selected Ambient Works Volume 2) with similar structure and melody but different sounds. If you like Landing, you're probably not going to go wrong with Brocade, but there are other releases I still much prefer in this genre (Yume Bitsu still gets my vote as one of the best ever).

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2005-11-10 21:29:16