For several years now i have been singing the
praises of post-rock band Landing. There are 11 reviews on
EvilSponge, 12 if you count their side project, Surface
of Eceyon. Well, this makes a nice, round, 13 reviews.
You see, Landing currently is on haitus, the five members
of the bands scattered to the winds. Well, sort of. Adrienne
and Aaron Snow are, in fact, married. So they scattered together,
ending up in Arizona, of all places. And despite the fact
that they supposedly have been breeding, they managed to
find the time to create this album. (Which is more than we
can say for the rest of the slackers in Landing!)
So, Paper is Landing stripped down to the Snows, and in general the music here does not fall too far from the Landing tree. In fact, i would say that this is a logical progression of what Landing were doing on Gravitational IV their final (i hope not really final), vinyl only, not reviewed here, album. Basically, Landing had progressed from hard psychedelia into droning slowcore and then into krautrockish mellow drones. The music was still wandering, but deep grooves anchored it, and spacey keyboards drove it into the far reaches of consciousness.
Paper continue with that, and, i think, do it better. Not to say that Gravitational IV was a bad album, but rather that there is a certain minimalism to As As that really works. I guess since it was just the Snows working, the music is stripped down to its essence: a simple beat, distorted guitar, whispered vocals, and spacey synths.
It's a really lovely record, and i find that i cannot stop listening to it. In particular, i am entranced by the middle third of the record, which starts with the two minute psychedelic drone, See. A simple loop ebbs and flows, while synths wander in and out of focus in the background. The loop reminds me a lot of Seefeel's Plainsong, and in fact if you added a funky beat behind it, you would basically have a Seefeel tune, but without the beat it takes on an entirely different feel. I will never look at Seefeel the same way...
The next tune, Boy, starts with a burbling synth sound. This is joined
by a hand clapped rhythm, chiming guitars, a little drum beat, and sci fi keyboardishness,
while Ms. Snow sings lightly, barely heard among all the other sounds going
on here. This is an ecstatically happy song. The hand claps and bleeps and
bloops just make me want to bounce around. This is a new thing for Landing-derived
music. A good thing, but new.
Next, Paper give us Cloudy, Cloudy, Cloudy, which could almost have been on Gravitational IV. Guitars wash over the listener in waves of echo, while Adrienne plays synths that drone in long notes, like some of the early work of Vangelis. The beat is a simple thing, holding the song anchored and not letting it drift off into sheer formlessness. Like, well, a cloud really. Very Landing, and very well done.
If you enjoyed what Landing was up to, then you definitely need to check out As As. This is minimalist Landing: all of the same droney goodness, just a little crisper and sparser.
Quite simply, i love this record. I am very glad to see that the Snows are continuing to make music. I hope that their child-rearing activities do not prevent them from continuing.