Landing: Complekt (These Are Not Records, 2016)

Landing: Complekt (These Are Not Records, 2016)

by Jason

TAN016_complekt_3CComplekt is Landing’s second full-length album of 2016. While Third Sight has only four tracks with two long-form pieces, Complekt takes a more structured approach with eight tracks which are mostly shorter in nature. While the layer masters take their brand of musical rebellion into short sound spaces, they do not belie their eccentric nature. Slowcore and bliss-pop moments occur more frequently on this particular album but that does not mean Landing shies away entirely from longer, more ambient compositions like “Grow”. The album is confident, as Landing has clearly perfected their own sound since their first release in 1999. They have a particular way of gliding through a composition, creating effortlessly complex songs that draw on a multitude of genres.

Complekt begins in true Landing fashion with “Light”. The track starts with almost no volume and then the volume increases very slowly until it levels off. Adrienne Snow sings in a reverb-laden, ghostly voice among shimmering guitars, glassy drones, and very subtle percussion which is almost lost in the aural soup. Spacey noises complete “Light” and it runs seamlessly into the title track, “Complekt”. Twenty seconds into the song, the band explodes into driving percussion and bass with fuzzed out guitars. This song is a full on aural assault and it’s brilliant. Aaron Snow’s vocals sit under the surface of a massive wall of guitars as the piece pushes ever forward. Coming full circle at the end, the percussion cuts out and the spacey sounds come back into focus. Again, they tie “Complekt” to the song that follows, “Weft”, without pause. “Weft” has echoing and shimmery guitars along with a rather off-beat drum pattern. It is playful and upbeat. This piece is an instrumental and seems to tie up the trilogy of the first three compositions on the disc. It ends in a pause between it and the fourth track, giving a sense of closure.

The appropriately titled “Shifts” rumbles with a low drone out of the pause with a shaker providing texture. Drums sit low in the mix as guitars come into the mix with what sounds like some synths. Adrienne ethereal voice floats over the layers of sound. As the song moves towards its crescendo, the walls of sound begin to grow in intensity and then they fade as the release happens. This leads seamlessly into “Thither”. Like the first three tracks, spacey sounds and subtle drone join them together without pause. A pulsating sound reverberates into the speaker with a low bass thump punctuating the speakers at slow intervals. Something that sounds like synths dot the landscape and then sparkling guitar begins to strum, floating over the pulsing soundscapes. Finally, percussion, bass, and vocals bring structure to the beautiful formlessness. Here, the band moves into a beautiful slowcore piece wrapped in shoegaze and ambient textures. “Thither” ends on a blissed out note and then there is a second silence on the record, perhaps preparing the listener for the much longer “Grow”.

“Grow” is a 10-minute piece and begins with synths blipping and blooping in the speakers. This gives way to drones that eventually die down and a more ominous sound begins to rise in the speakers. Eventually, this turns to a more introspective feel, as a hopeful tone begins to rise. Percussion joins in with shakers and gives a subtle form to the track. Adrienne joins in with her breathy, ethereal voice. As “Grow” fades, “Clouds II” slides effortlessly into the speaker. Here, Landing brings another beautiful slowcore piece filled with ambient, lush guitars and Adrienne’s soothing vocals. “Clouds II” seems to be a companion song to “Clouds” which appeared on their 1999 EP Centrefuge, connecting the earliest years of the band with their current output. “World”, the finale, begins with an acoustic guitar sitting on drones. Aaron lends his vocals awash in deep reverb. He sings bare and open. It’s a singer-songwriter ballad but in a way that only Landing could deliver. There are layers here even though the acoustic guitar and vocals sit up front. The acoustic guitar silences and album fades as a synth hums into silence.

Complekt is an impressive entry in the prodigious Landing discography. To say that they are at the height of their creative powers is an understatement. Landing plays with no boundaries or rules, but, when they do adopt more approachable structures in their music, it is always on their own terms. Their sense of ease and whimsical exploration never cease to enchant. Grab a copy of Complekt before all the physical copies are gone!

Landing‘s official site is here.

Landing‘s Bandcamp page is here where you can pre-order Complekt. Hurry! The vinyl is selling out already!

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