Astral TV’s ‘Human’

Imagine the moment the universe reveals itself to you, openly and without hesitation. Those ancient, intergalactic secrets brought out into the bright, all-encompassing light of knowledge for you to finally understand and appreciate. Misunderstandings of existence, the afterlife, religion, death, and love are displayed to you -to anyone- for the first time ever in all of this or any world’s lifespan. This is the moment the meaning of it all comes to fruition….

I imagine that moment would sound something like Astral TV’s new track “Human”.

Astral TV is the duo of Rasmus Rasmussen and Keith Canisius and they seem to have captured a perfect mix of ambient music, sci-fi sounds, and heady existential sound explorations within 14 tracks on their debut album for El Paraiso Records titled Chrystal Shores.

So will Astral TV appeal to you? I don’t know, do you feel general human emotions? Do you ever ponder the bigger questions about where we come from or what is the meaning of it all? Do you enjoy staring across a darkening horizon to watch the sun sink into the abyss of evening? Do you love, long, or yearn for another person that may be out of reach? Would you rather read Philip K. Dick instead of Michael Crichton? Have you ever thought you can’t get enough Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, or Klaus Schulze? If the answer to one or all of these is “Well, yeah”, then Astral TV is certainly for you.

The newest track to be released into the world from Astral TV(the first being “Sun Flares” back in June) is “Human”, and it’s exquisite. In its 2:16 running time, it pulsates and opens like some lost Blade Runner track. Synths percolate and bloom, revealing new layers of sonic joy. It’s both a sci-fi-sounding piece and also hints at some lost musical interlude you may have heard in the early 70s that Boards of Canada might’ve sampled on Music Has The Right To Children. Rasmussen and Canisius sound like two space age wizards laying out a map to the universe with nothing more than various analog toys and circuit boxes.

“Human” is yet another stellar track off what will be one of the best heavy synth releases of the year. Put on some headphones and hit play below and get lost for a couple minutes in the warm, bubbling tones of Astral TV’s “Human”, then hit the link right here and go preorder this record.

Astral TV’s Chrystal Shores arrives July 21st via El Paraiso Records.

Black Cube Marriage : Astral Cube

Okay I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what’s happening on Black Cube Marriage’s Astral Cube. Listening to it for the third time I’m considerably more intrigued than I was the first time I listened. That’s not to say the first listen wasn’t intriguing. The first time I put this record in my ears I was in the midst of an antihistamine haze and had laid down early with headphones on. The otherworldly noise that drilled its way into my brain was like a cross between interplanetary messages, various instruments being dropped into a worm hole, and a dentist’s drill running through my back molars. It’s like all the noisy bits of Agharta and Pangaea morphed into one single blistering moment. It was chaos multiplied. On my third listen it wasn’t any less dense and chaotic, but I found a center to plop down into and let it all soak in nicely.

Black Cube Marriage is the brain child of Chicago cornetist, sound manipulator, and improvisor Rob Mazurek; as well as members of his Brazilian connection Sao Paolo Underground, Austin-based freeform unit Marriage and special guests Jonathan Horne (guitar, saxophone) and Steve Jansen (tapes, guitar). This is the essence of experimental free form noise. This isn’t college kids playing power chords over a motorik beat while under the influence of several cups of Sumatran pour-over. It’s not some dudes jamming with an occasional squall of noise or some tape loops. This is deep, heavy noise. It’s like Morton Subotnick devoured a string quartet, a horn player, and some cafeteria silverware and regurgitated it all in front of a microphone. It’s not for the faint of heart. But if you’ve got an ear and head for true intellectual music journeys, Astral Cube might be your trip.

According to El Paraiso’s press release: “Formed in the wake of a couple of Austin, Texas shows in late 2015, this 11-person strong ensemble creates waves of sound that can best be described as cathartic. Astral Cube draws from multiple styles and traditions and the result is a sonic eruption where past, present, north, east, south, organic and electronic collides and is poured into the unknown. Traces of cosmic jazz – think Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra – appears alongside abstract electronics and heavily manipulated instruments – not unlike Autechre or Matmos.”

There’s mention of the music conjuring visions of flowing mountain streams, colorful wildlife, and ancient rituals, as well as buzzing power lines and technology gone haywire. I would agree with all of those. At times the music is an absolute catchall for a schizophrenic noise filter. Album opener “Spectral Convergence Wing” greets you with the sound of hysteria. It buzzes and wheezes with chaos. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason. A mental breakdown put to tape. “Fractal Signal Clone” has the essence of Miles calm within a storm. Strings chatter as Mazurek’s cornet plays a mournful melody. Think something like Godspeed You! Black Emperor falling into some sort of sweet abyss with Ron Carter close behind. “Magic Sun Ray” puts me in mind of Nels Cline’s solo records, while “Time Shatters Forward” sounds like oncoming traffic in some post-apocalyptic world.

If there’s a centerpiece on this record its the 13+ minute “Syncretic Illumine”. It opens like noise coming from a distant jungle, but slowly builds into a mammoth groove number. Latin flavors mix with a steely hard bop attitude to give the track a feeling of both history and intergalactic travel. The past and present colliding beautifully.

Astral Cube isn’t for everyone. It’s dense noise making and experimental art of the highest order, but not for the musical window shopper or those with a weak constitution. But for those with unique tastes in intellectual noise and those who’ve taken heady trips with the likes of Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra, Bitches Brew-era Miles, as well as electronic noise makers like Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros and Oneohtrix Point Never, Black Cube Marriage may just have what you need.

7.9 out of 10

 

Causa Sui Revisited Part Three : Return To Sky

I’m not really sure how I revisit an album that came out less than a year ago, especially one that I loved right off the bat. But really, this is a series not of albums I’m going back to and seeing if they’re a better fit after some time has passed. No, these posts are for the benefit of you, dear reader. Yes, I’m writing these in the hopes of helping guide you on your journey to Causa Sui enlightenment. A psychedelic road map that will take you on an existential journey to find some serious space rock, brothers and sisters. I want to help you blow your mind in the best way possible. Causa Sui wants to blow your mind, and I’m here to help you find the right record to do that. Open that head of yours and let some light in.

So Summer Sessions seemed too daunting of a task you say? Information overload you say? And Pewt’r Sessions 3 was just a bit too much of a mind f*ck? Too heady and dark for your bright, sunny days? Well, that’s okay. You see, I’ve got something here that even the lightest and cheeriest of space travelers can get into. Return To Sky, Causa Sui’s newest album(released spring of 2016) feels like a wave of both 90s alternative rock and breezy early 70s pastoral Big Muff noise. It feels like what I’d call Causa Sui’s gateway album. It’s the one that pulls you into the Causa Sui universe and from there you begin exploring. It’s 5 songs -tightly wound and beautifully chaotic- headphone-ready and catchy as hell.

“Dust Meridian” blows out of the speakers like “Spoonman” on mescaline. It’s a heavy groove joyride that pulls in tribal beats, Sabbath riffs, and trippy Doors-like interludes thanks to Rasmus Rasmussen’s keys work. It’s a microcosm of classic and modern sounds coming together and working things out in the eye of the musical storm.

“The Source” is a mainline of chugging boogie and stoner rock abandon. Jonas Munk about blows this one through the roof with a megaton rock riff that would make Matt Pike cower in fear. There’s a great mix of mystical vibes and sludge-y doom in “The Source”. Causa Sui sort of throw all their strengths into this one and just go for it.

“Mondo Buzzo” is the sound of the natives getting restless. War drums are beaten seductively and with purpose. The slinky guitar riff is the warning shot across the bow, and the bass and keys press on like good soldiers. The song explodes into big riffs and Kyuss-like purpose.

Desert rock in the heart of Copenhagen, folks.

If you didn’t guess, Return To Sky is a rock and roll banshee. Causa Sui went into the studio to record an in-the-raw rock monster of an album. Little overdubs and big riffs. Where previous records sprinkled in dreamy atmospheres and psychedelic shadings, Return To Sky turned the amps up to 11 and laid down some serious grooves. There’s no pastoral wanderings or dreamy soundscapes. With this album it was all about the visceral push.

“Dawn Passage” does have a bit of a “break in the clouds” feel with phaser-effected guitars and a ride-driven drum part, but it doesn’t go all navel-gazing. Underneath the breezy disposition there’s still a kinetic flow. Munk, Kahr, Rasmussen, and Skott work together musically on a gut-level here. It’s an instinctual thing between these four.

“Return To Sky” sounds like some fuzz box version of the Midnight Cowboy theme. It’s got a bit of an open horizon vibe. It seems to capture this technicolor space where sky and earth meet, just before they explode into swaths of red, pink, and orange hues. Fear not, kiddos, this day doesn’t end before some serious guitar power pummels us into submission.

If you’re looking for an easy way into the Causa Sui world, this is it. Return To Sky puts you into the studio with the band. You can feel the electricity as the music is being pulled from some other plane and arrives in our world through buzzing amps and the joy of creativity. Raw power and seriously heavy melodies grab you and pull you in.

Nuff said. Put it in yer ears.

 

 

That Copenhagen Sound

I may have mentioned this little Copenhagen, Denmark outfit called Causa Sui a few times here. I may have, I can’t quite recall. If I haven’t, I’ll give you a quick rundown. If I have, well bear with me. You see, Causa Sui is this quartet of musicians(Jonas Munk, Jess Kahr, Rasmus Rasmussen, and Jakob Skott) out of the most excellent Copenhagen. I was introduced to them way back in late 2013 when their album Euporie Tide came out. “Check ’em out!”, this friend said. “You’ll dig ’em!”, this friend said. Well the friend was right. I did dig them. I came into the Causa Sui world just as they were hitting a most fruitful time. 2014 saw the release of drummer Jakob Skott’s masterpiece Amor Fati, Causa Sui’s brain melting Pewt’r Sessions 3, guitarist Jonas Munk’s Absorb…Fabric…Cascade, and right before 2015 took over for old man 2014 Skott put out another stellar solo effort called Taurus Rising. So if you were counting, that was four Causa Sui-related releases in 2014, and all on the band’s own record label, El Paraiso Records. I mean, what the hell? If ever there was a prolific group of dudes it’s these cats that hail from the same place as some of my other favorite creative people; like Lars Von Trier, Mads Mikkelsen, Lars Ulrich and Nicolas Winding Refn(if things get too bad here, I’m trying for dual citizenship in Denmark, people. I think the kids will love it there.)

fullsizerender-1Here’s the thing with Causa Sui, they feel like this true art collective. All of them work outside of the band on solo projects, they create music communally with mood lighting, lots of cool electronic toys, and plenty of longnecks of IPA. They record other artists they dig and want to help share with the world via El Paraiso Records(check out Papir, Mythic Sunship, Brian Ellis Group, Landing, and Videodrones for further proof of El Paraiso’s stellar lineup.) There’s just this loose, earthy vibe with the band that draws me in. Everything they do is interesting. There’s this sort of hippie vibe going on, but without the patchouli, peace and love overtones. These guys create a sort of practical magic. The art that they commit to cd and vinyl is a real journey, man. Causa Sui explores the far reaches of the universe in the course of an album. It’s heady, trippy musical explorations that are far beyond dudes just “getting buzzed and jammin'”. You want Miles-influenced musical mazes to get lost in? Put some Summer Sessions or Pewt’r Sessions in your skull. Feeling the need for some breezy summer vibes to surround your noggin while you’re checking out beach bods at the local dunes? Euporie Tide will suffice nicely. Needing a triple shot of espresso-fueled music juice that’ll remind you of both Sabbath and Joshua Tree? Hell, Return To Sky will abide. All of these are done earnestly and from an honest place. Nothing feels contrived with these guys. They take their influences and inspirations and mix them with their own brand of musical paint to create a whole new musical hue. The practical aspect of Causa Sui comes in the form of always working. Always expanding and evolving their sound. They never seem content to stick to a formula. They’re also regular dudes with regular jobs. They punch a clock, then blow minds after work. They know the value of time and properly spending said time.

For my money, they’re one of the most innovative rock bands working today that don’t make the world stop turning when they drop from social media(hello, Radiohead.)

So why am I going on and on about Jonas, Jess, Rasmus, and Jakob? Well I guess it’s because they’re putting out a new live album. Now I’m not much of a live album guy. I think most fall flat because the magic of that space, the heat of the moment, and the electricity that burnt through the air just doesn’t come through on live recordings. There are a few exceptions, and Causa Sui’s first live release Live At Freak Valley is one of them(the other is Papir Live At Roadburn.) Causa Sui’s Live In Copenhagen is a 3-LP boxset that was recorded at two shows: the release show for Euporie Tide and the release show for Return To Sky. From the look of the set lists it’s a smorgasbord of classic, deep cuts and the latest and greatest. They’re joined onstage by Danish saxophonist Johan Riedenlow for some dynamic accompaniment, as well as Papir guitarist Nicklas Sørensen who adds some of his tasteful musical chops into the proceedings.

Did I mention it’s 3-LPs?!?! And there’s 300 bonus 10″s that are available with extra studio goodness for those quick on the buying draw?

If there was one band I could bankroll a trip to the US for some shows it would be Causa Sui. What I’ve seen of them live they seem like a band that likes to get it on live. They bring it. They explore plenty on record, but live they slice open those tunes and explore even more. When you’re going to a show that’s what you want to see. At least that’s what I want to see. I don’t want the hits and some extended jams. I want serious exploration and Causa Sui are all about that.

Want to know more? Well that’s all I got, but here’s some cool words from the El Paraiso site:

This limited boxset captures Causa Sui at two very special nights: At the release parties of Euporie Tide (2013) & Return To Sky (2016). While the two albums are tight and meticulous sizes, that helped propel the band to the very pinnacle of European stoner-psych, this heavy package documents the band at their most free and adventurous. Since the band seldomly performes live, this may very well be your best chance to experience what the band is capable of at their best! One show is recorded at avantgarde institution extraordinaire Jazzhouse, while the other captures the sounds of legendary underground venue Dragens Hule in a warm summer night of 2013, where the band played in front of a small, ecstatic crowd until the wee hours. Both shows were recorded multitrack with an A-grade selection of mics and mixed and mastered by Jonas Munk.

During these three discs Causa Sui aren’t merely running through classic cuts from the catalogue. Each track is explored, reinterpreted and given new life – often straying far away from its original roots with a fervent energy. One minute the band is bluesy and heavy, the next they’re repetitive and blissed-out or venturing into a cacophony of Albert Ayler-like sax bursts, free-form electronics and feedback. Swedish saxophone player Johan Riedenlow joins both shows and Papir-guitar player Nicklas Sørensen occasionally adds his magic to the Dragens Hule set – including a towering 13-minute version of Eternal Flow, that seems to channel the energy of mid-1970s Popol Vuh, as well as a breezy cover version of Agitation Free’s ”First Communication”.

Want to know more? Then go here.

fullsizerender-2This wasn’t a paid endorsement, guys(though I do have quite a collection of Causa Sui stickers.) This one is from the gut. I’m a big fan of Causa Sui and pretty much everything they do. I will gladly wax ecstatic about these guys ad nauseum(like I just did here.)

I think in light of this great live set coming out next month, I’ll revisit some of my favorite albums from the Copenhagen crew over the next few weeks and share with you all. Cause, why not?

Happy Monday.

Videodrones : Mondo Ferox

“It’s pretty late, yet I still have a couple videotapes left to watch. I burned through some Argento, Fulci, Carpenter; now its time to jump into a stack of Gorgon Videos that I found tucked away in the back room of Video World. Faces of Death, A Night To Dismember, and Evil Dead Trap seem like proper late night viewing. It’s nearly 2am, but it’s Friday night(or early Saturday morning) and I’m refueling with caffeine, frozen pizza, and a 2 lb bag of Reese’s Pieces left over from my Christmas stocking. The junk food gorging seems to go hand-in-hand with the mental junk food I’ve been devouring all night. Mom and dad, long asleep upstairs, could care a less what I’m doing as long as what I’m doing is quiet. Oh man, better turn the volume down. The screaming might wake them that’s emanating from those nearly blown Zenith console speakers. They say these deaths on Faces of Death are real. I don’t know, that guy frying in the electric chair didn’t look very real to me. Suspiria seemed more real to me. Hell, so did House By The Cemetery, but that’s not saying much. Oh, the pizza is done. Maybe I’ll switch things up and throw in Phantasm after this lousy Faces of Death.”

It’s 3am? Oh well, it’s only early Saturday morning. I’ve got all day to sleep in. 

When I listen to Videodrones’ excellent new record Mondo Ferox I’m instantly transported back to my youth and a scene much like the one I described above begins toeprlp036-front_0 form in my head. Mondo Ferox is an instrumental LP that elicits woozy, seedy, and dark nostalgia for a generation of folks that grew up watching their horror and sci fi films via videotapes and VCRs. It’s an LP of analog synth that is used to create scenes of bleeding colors, hallucinogenic disarray, and glassy-eyed indifference. A Betamax psychosis that wraps your brain in miles of seedy videotape and you emerge from it wanting more and more. Mondo Ferox is the soundtrack to a youth forged on dusty videotapes and late nights in front of the TV.

It’s no surprise that El Paraiso Records is behind this release. Jakob Skott’s Doppler and Jonas Munk’s Absorb/Fabric/Cascade are two of the best synth records released in the last few years that more people should know about. If you’re at all familiar with Doppler, then you’ll feel right at home inside Videodrones’ warm, gooey world of bubbling, hazy synth structures. Each piece is built around the idea of a scene. “Main Titles”, “Blood Brew”, and “Helena Markos” blip and beep like the score to some lost sci fi flick you found buried under an inch of dust on the back wall of some crumbling video store. “Theme From Mondo Ferox” is all sweaty menace. Something you might’ve heard on a 16mm film from Abel Ferrara you’d find hidden in a cardboard box underneath some old Fangoria mags. “Dødssmitten Fra Mars” is reminiscent of Brian Gascoigne’s underrated Phase IV score, as is the excellent “Moebius Run”. On “Moebius Run”, Videodrones seem to capture both Italian horror cinema and 8-bit video game music as well; a combination of Castlevania and Bobby Beausoleil’s Lucifer Rising score. “Stalker State” becomes a gateway to some long lost world. A world that latchkey kids would remember all too well.

Mondo Ferox is an ode to late night videos, hazy basement viewings, and the sometimes heady scores that accompanied those flicks. Videodrones have tapped into something far deeper than just nostalgia. They’ve reimagined the sickly, sleepy 3am movie binge that I know all too well. And I imagine some of you may know it as well. Put on some headphones, drop the needle, and let Mondo Ferox mess with your psyche a bit.

And remember to be kind, please rewind.

8.6 out of 10

 

 

 

A Soundtrack To Dreams : The Musical World of Landing

Feature photo by Susan Mclean

 

Sometimes the best thing is right in your own backyard.

What do I mean? Well take music for example. You go through phases where you feel you’ve found all the great bands you’re going to find. You’ve combed the great musical landscape over and over again and have come up empty-handed time and time again. Maybe it’s time to stop looking and just be happy with your collection of Can, NEU!, late 60s psych, and that weird collection of early electronic music. But then, just when you’ve written off ever finding something interesting and great again it happens. Like finding a needle in a haystack you’re turned on to something great. This happened to me recently. It took a Danish record label to turn my eyes and ears not to some obscure Finnish post-punk band, or some Slavic death metal. No, it just took them to turn my ears to the east. Far east?

No. Just Connecticut.

El Paraiso Records recently announced they were releasing a new album by a band called Landing. Landing, it turns out, has been putting out drone-y psych and sleepy ambient albums for close to 20 years to little or no fanfare. Recording DIY-style they’ve had many members over the years, with Aaron Snow and his wife Adrienne as the constants throughout this whole time. I headed to their Bandcamp page and was overwhelmed by not only all the music amassed by this band over the years, but the quality of the music. A mix of ambient, psych, and early 80s alternative are present and accounted for. The ambient side of stuff is very much in the vein of Tangerine Dream, Bardo Pond, and even bits of Boards of Canada; while the more song-based stuff puts me in mind of Cocteau Twins. It’s all incredibly good, which makes me feel bad because I didn’t know anything about Landing until some great guys in Denmark told me about them.

I reached out to Landing about the possibility of talking to them about their great new album called Third Sight, which is being released by El Paraiso Records on June 17th. Aaron Snow got back to me and said absolutely. So here it is.

IMG_7695J. Hubner: So tell me about Landing. How did the band come together? Who are the current members?

Aaron Snow: Landing started out as a studio project in the summer of 1998. Adrienne, Daron(Gardner), and Dick(Baldwin) joined a few months later. Dick left the group in 2004 and since that time we’ve also had synthesist Pete Baumann, who played on “Brocade”, and John Miller, who’s been in the band since late 2014.

J. Hubner: Were you all in previous bands prior to Landing?

Aaron Snow: Adrienne and I had been playing shows for a few years as a duo before forming Landing. Daron had been in a number of notable Utah indie bands including Fortynine Hudson. Dick had also been playing in a few really great bands before Landing, including Perth Amboy. John Miller has played in a number of cool bands including Titles, The Mountain Movers, and Snake Oil.

J. Hubner: Let’s talk about the music. From the very beginning with the 2001 debut ‘Circuit’ the band established a definitive sound; dreamy, hypnotic, and very spacey. Going into this band what were you all soaking your brains in musically? What artists were really influencing Landing to create the music that you were writing?

Aaron Snow: My main idea was to create music that I could fall asleep to. The idea of making “ambient” music in a rock band context was (and still is) really interesting to me. I’m a huge fan of bands like Bardo Pond, Transient Waves, Fuxa, Windy & Carl, and Yume Bitsu who have elements of pop songwriting but take it deep into the tryypr territory.

J. Hubner: There also seems to be some pop elements in the music as well.

Aaron Snow: Adrienne and I share an almost identical musical taste based in a love of Cocteau Twins, The Cure and first wave shoegaze, but Dick and Daron exposed us to a whole other palette of cool, weird stuff. Pete and John had the same effect, and I’m proud of the fact that we were (and still are) unafraid to incorporate anything we want to, musically.

J. Hubner: What’s the songwriting process like with Landing? Musically it sounds very loose and organic. Is that how the songs come together, or is there a definitive starting point, melody, or riff and the band builds from there?

Aaron Snow: Sometimes it’s entirely organic! If we’re making improvisation based stuff, someone will write a synth or guitar loop and we’ll get together to improvise around that framework. We’ll make loads of edits, layer, and overdub on top to form a “song” out of it. Rarely do we improvise and release the raw recordings.

Our other mode is pretty normal, I think. For the most part, I’ll write a guitar or bass part and we’ll build up a song around it. Daron, John, and Adrienne are the best at taking my super basic song ideas and forming something really cool out of them!

IMG_7694J. Hubner: There also seems to be two very distinct vibes with the music. You have the more pop-oriented songs and the more experimental, hallucinogenic vibe on something like ‘Oceanless’. How do you balance those two sides of the band? You’ve seemed to do it really well in your new singe ‘Morning Sun’, by the way.

Aaron Snow: Thanks so much! We don’t consciously try to balance both sides of the group, necessarily. We all love writing more conventional songs and we also love doing improvisational weird tryyyyps. For Third Sight, El Paraiso wanted us to make something improvisational for their Impetus series (which is a series that’s based in improvisation). Working within those constraints was super fun and I’m proud of the end result!

J. Hubner: Landing seems to relish in the experimental musical world.

Aaron Snow: Luckily, that’s not all we do or I’d get bored. I also love writing verse/chorus/verse pop songs and we have a few releases coming out later this year that will have a bit of the deep tryyyp mixed with pop song structures.

J. Hubner: So lets talk about your new album ‘Third Sight’ that’s coming out via El Paraiso Records. First, how did Landing get hooked up with El Paraiso?

Aaron Snow: I’ve been in touch with Jonas Munk for a number of years. It’s always been an honor that he’s into Landing because we love his work! We chat from time to time and when we released our last EP Body Diffuser he expressed interest in putting it out on El Paraiso, which was amazing! Although Body Diffuser didn’t work out (we had already pressed the tapes), we offered to do something entirely new just for them and they were into it.

J. Hubner: I can only imagine it’s been a great experience working with the label. Jonas and Jakob seem like they’re tuned into Landing’s wavelengths.

Aaron Snow: Working with Jonas and Jakob has been AMAZING. They’re two of the nicest, most engaged label people we’ve worked with. Not only did they contribute amazing artwork and layout (Jakob) and mastered the record beautifully (Jonas), but they had excellent ideas about the music as well. I love those guys!

J. Hubner: What’s changed from your debut to ‘Third Sight’ for the band songwriting-wise? Or has anything changed for you? Do you feel the creative process has become easier to tap into? Is the new album a departure from previous records?

Aaron Snow: Lots has changed over the past 18 years, obviously. The main difference from our debut is that we lost Dick Baldwin, who was the other main songwriter. His feel for weird folky intertwining cool stuff is something that I miss a lot. The creative process has remained mostly unchanged. If anything, it’s gotten a little easier to figure out what works and what’s falling flat. We know what traps to avoid and when to abandon an idea.

Third Sight is a little bit of a callback to older Landing records like Oceanless, Brocade and Fade In/Fade Out while still being quite a bit different. We’re obscuring stuff a lot less than we used to, I think. Adrienne’s vocals, especially, keep getting better and better so we decided to make them front and center in a way that we wouldn’t have in the past.

Our last two LP’s, Landing and Wave Lair, struck out in a more electronic vein. While I’m still proud of those albums, I feel like since the addition of John Miller, we sound less like a studio project and more like an organic band again. Body Diffuser was our first step back in that direction and “Third Sight” is in a similar vein. Later this year, we’re releasing Complekt which will focus more on all aspects of our sound- both tryyyps and “songs”. I couldn’t be happier with where we are right now!

J. Hubner: Was ‘Third Sight’ self-produced? Landing seems to be a real DIY kind of band.

Aaron Snow: Landing is and always has been entirely DIY. Before John joined, I recorded, mixed, and in most cases mastered the albums. Lucky for us, John is an outstanding recording engineer and we’ve taken full advantage of the situation, which is why our new stuff sounds so much better! Being DIY is important to us. We always record at home.

J. Hubner: What’s the current live situation?

Aaron Snow: Since John joined, we’re a pretty solid live band (if I do say so myself)! Recording has always been the most important aspect of what we do, so we don’t put much thought into how we’ll play the songs live while we’re making them. This means that we’re often not able to play certain songs, but with effects becoming more versatile and looping pedals, we’re able to play songs that we couldn’t have in the old days.

IMG_7693J. Hubner: What’s touring like for Landing? Will you guys be playing some shows to promote Third Sight?

Aaron Snow: Touring is a challenge for a band like us. We don’t make money off the band, so we have jobs and responsibilities that keep us from doing long tours, unfortunately. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do a little touring if not this summer, then next. Our shows are pretty cool, I think! We LOVE playing live and meeting cool people. We try to play songs from all aspects and eras of Landing, so you never know what you’ll hear.

J. Hubner: What’s the rest of 2016 look like?

Aaron Snow: The rest of 2016 will be busy for us!! We’re releasing another full length called Complekt and a split cassette with the amazingly great band Thought Forms on These Are Not Records this summer/fall.

J. Hubner: Any chance of an El Paraiso Festival with Landing, Causa Sui, Mythic Sunship, Papir, and maybe some solo sets from Jonas Munk and Jakob Skott? I’d make the trek from Indiana to the East Coast for that.

Aaron Snow: An El Parasio fest sounds GREAT. I feel like they should hold it in Europe and fly us over for it.(laughs) We are SO PSYCHED to join the El Paraiso family along with so many amazing musicians! It’s a total honor.


So let’s get that El Paraiso Fest locked in Jakob and Jonas and I’ll work on getting some tickets to Copenhagen for the wife and I. In the meantime, head over to Landing’s Bandcamp page and get lost in their musical world. Then hit up El Paraiso Records and preorder Third Sight. It’s out on June 17th. And keep your eyes and ears peeled for Landing’s Complekt later this year.

Brian Ellis Group : Escondido Sessions

As soon as the first notes begin to play on “Via De Mi Rancho”, the opening salvo on Brian Ellis Group’s Escondido Sessions, you know you’re in for something special.escondido There’s a hypnotic urgency in the organ/sax/drum combo. A slow build into chaotic energy that can barely be contained within the parameters of space and time, let alone your stereo speakers. This is a warp speed trip through acid-burnt bitches brews and psychotic reactions. This is elegant chaos. Escondido Sessions is four songs that gather up musical ghosts and specters of progressive and jazz fusion musical pasts and brings them forward for nearly 40 minutes of mind-expanding goodness.

If you’re not familiar with Brian Ellis, the guy is something of a musical genius. He also gets around. Not only does he front the Brian Ellis Group, but he’s also the guitarist in Astra and the sax player in Psicomagia. Along with Escondido Sessions, he’s also gearing up the release of another great album, At Dusk, an acoustic/synth collection of ambient and atmospheric songs he recorded with guitarist Brian Grainger. On both records, Ellis shows off his musical chops and diversity. But for the moment, let’s talk Escondido Sessions.

If there’s a through line here, it’s the late 60s and early 70s-era jazz fusion. Bitches Brew is definitely an influence here, at least in the rhythm section. Big drums, heavy, low end bass, and this underlying funk that lingers in the air like a dank haze. This is a groove album, for sure. At times, it’s as if Ellis is channeling Joe Zawinul AND Chick Corea, while Patrick Shiroishi is channeling an Interstellar Space-era Coltrane. It’s controlled chaos. It’s a beautiful thing. “Too Late For Georgia’s” seems to capture the true beauty of fusion, starting from calm and working its way into burning through the atmosphere. Along with those wild-eyed explosions of notes and rhythm, there’s a real Latin flavor here, bringing to mind early Santana group, pre-Altamont. It builds perfectly into a echoing explosion of raw-nerve fire. “On Peterson’s Corner” shimmies and shakes like a re-imagining of Davis’ “On the Corner/New York Girl/Thinkin’ One Thing and Doin’ Another/Vote for Miles”, but soon finds its own brand of West Coast fusion/funk that gets lost in its own musical maze. Ellis brings things into sharp focus as he brings everyone back in mid-way through with some great electric piano groove. “Memories of Pubby” is a rhythmic tour de force. Opening with a Latin groove you could slice with a knife it’s so thick, you’d think you were hearing Gillespie’s “Con Alma” from another dimension. The mood of this 11+ minute slow burn remains pensive. It has the potential to boil over, yet the Brian Ellis Group keep things at a slow burn. They tease you with spacey noises and saxophone spurts and occasional rhythmic outbursts, but the chaos just under the surface is kept and contained.

Escondido Sessions is an album to be savored. Altered state or not, this record will take you on a journey. It’s expansive, atmospheric, and dream-like tracks simmer and sizzle in equal parts. Let’s hope that the Brian Ellis Group have a few more sessions up their sleeves. The world needs more of this.

8.8 out of 10