During the pandemic, when Landing (who are at their core a married couple) were stuck at home wondering what was going to happen, they decided to channel their free time into music. Well, they did so during the second year of the pandemic. I guess it took them a while to work out the logistics, but at the end of 2020, they posted to BandCamp that if you signed up to send them $3 a month, they would provide one new track a month for your listening pleasure.
I signed up. Why not? I love the band and want to support them.
Landing seem to be of the "more value for your dollar" camp because they also included exclusive downloads of 3 live recordings AND a download of the raw material that became their album Third Sight (a series of three and a half hours of raw drones and sparse guitar bits, the material that was layered to make the record. It's actually fascinating to listen to, but would likely test the patience of someone not as into this music as i am.)
At the end of 2021 Landing announced that they were going to edit the tracks down and compile them onto a cassette to be mailed to subscribers. They also sent us a download of the cassette, which makes a lovely Landing LP.
Now, their last few records have been, shall we say, a little more focused than a lot of Landing's other work. They were making 5 minute rock and pop songs with a definite structure and driving rhythms. The tunes that Landing released over the course of 2021 are, well Landing would call them "deep tryyps", and they are slow meandering explorations. However, i guess we can consider those to be demo versions, because what we have on the cassette, and what i am focused on in this review, are the edited down versions. The longest track on the cassette is Seconds, which was edited down to six minutes from a fifteen minute source. All of the songs are similarly trimmed, layered, and compacted.
This exercise has been very interesting to me from a fan perspective, as i see how the sprawling drones and meandering bits combine to form the compact pop tunes the band has been doing lately. It sort of puts the growth of the band, as well as their "process" into some perspective. I guess -- i am a writer with the inability to carry a tune in a bucket, so seeing the demo and finished product has been really fascinating for me.
At any rate, the cassette goes through the tracks in the order Landing released them over the year.
We start off with Sow, an appropriate beginning. This is one layer of slow drum, one of tingling guitar, a keyboard drone, and Adrienne Snow's voice, here singing forceful. It is a delicate little track that meanders nicely and fades directly into Seconds. This track would not have been out of place on a recent Landing record. The guitar is a forceful whirl in multiple dense layers, while the scattered drum adds in some lethargic cymbal crashes, and Adrienne is, again, buried in the mix. In a way, it reminds me of something off of the first Auburn Lull record -- that deep droning guitar. For the bridge of the song, the layers part and there is a brief bongo (?) solo, then a bit of noise that fades into the next drone.
The next tune is called Frame. The demo version, which Landing released in March 2020, was 24:32. This version is 3:02, meaning the song has been compacted 8 times! Wow. It's a tinkling spacey little tune with a nice keyboardy drone and tapped drums.
Anew is one of the catchiest songs here. This is a krautrock groove and tinkling guitar, just bouncing along. And then Silver wraps up side one with tinkling guitar, tapped drums, and Adrienne singing longingly.
True Leaves kicks off side two of the cassette with some clattering backwards percussion, louder droning guitar, and Adrienne's voice buried in fuzz. It's noisier from the get go with a powerful organ drone over it all. This song also features some guest guitar work from Fred Thomas, who astute EvilSponge readers will remember from the band Saturday Looks Good To Me.
The next track, Home, is a nice little tune that reminds me of their Seasons album a bit. Lone is a similar song with a tinkling guitar part and Aaron's voice a little more forceful. Pillow is up next with great guitars and a nice martial drum beat.
Complication is a slight song, just a few layers of guitar and some faint drones. Pretty and delicate. And finally we wrap up with Seedhead. This features one acoustic guitar part and one really great new wave guitar part that is an electric echo over the strummed acoustic. They layer this with some whooshing synths and Adrienne's voice for wonderful effect, a great end to the record.
I really have enjoyed this process. I liked getting a long Landing track every month, and i like that they then edited those tracks down into some little pop tunes, and then put out this cassette. Fans of Landing who did not participate in the subscription series will want to hurry to BandCamp to get one of the last remaining cassettes.
And, once again, i find myself ending a review of a Landing release by wondering what they will do next? I am sure that i will enjoy it.