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Landing - Fade In Fade Out

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Artist: Landing

Album: Fade In Fade Out

Label: Strange Attractors Audio House

Review date: Oct. 23, 2002


Given their prolific output over the course of the last year, it is almost as if Landing is experimenting with the reviewer’s ability to compare and contrast. Close on the heels of their summer release, Seasons, the Connecticut-based band returns to a more natural form with Fade In Fade Out, a pleasantly underwhelming EP. Whereas Seasons seemed at times to awkwardly force its beauty on the listener, Fade In Fade Out is more innocuous, and consequently, effective, in presenting an absorbing sound.

The greatest difference between the superior Fade In Fade Out and its predecessor Seasons is the minimal use of vocals that defines the most recent release. While Adrienne Snow chimes in on “Against the Rain” and “Whirlwind,” she serves more as an accompaniment to the drone and ceaseless wave of harmonic keyboard that pervades the listener’s consciousness. Trying to understand what she is saying is somewhat futile, which is probably for the best. On the other hand, Seasons at times veered into the territory of emo or slowcore. Adrienne’s husband, Aaron Snow, sang with distinctive clarity on songs such as “Encircled (through fallen leaves)” and “Clarke Street” to, in my mind, poor results. The music became mired in overt sentimentality.

Like Windy & Carl (also married – God only knows why matrimony and this type of music go together) and Stars of the Lid, much of the Landing’s music focuses on the natural world around them. To be more specific, a primary point of convergence for these bands is the weather. An immutable topic if there ever was one, the weather, like drone music, exists in perpetuity. For the most part it is background, only to jump to the forefront when there is a break in the pattern. The Weather Channel relishes a good hurricane; people watch to witness this dramatic aberration.

On Fade In Fade Out this principle holds true. “Forest Ocean Sound” groups together soft echoes and chimes. The noises interplay well, neither distinguishing itself enough for the listener to decide whether he is in the forest or under the ocean. It is the equivalent of a halcyon sunny day, and one is content to dally in the prosaic prettiness. “Whirlwind” is the only track on the EP to utilize drums, perhaps to present the more tumultuous nature we associate with this atmospheric event. The last track, “Pulse” (despite being labeled an EP, Fade In Fade Out clocks in with five songs measuring 37 minutes) lulls on for more than 11 minutes, ending rhythmically where it began. Of all the songs on the EP, “Pulse” seems to be closest to the concept where musicians remove entirely the idea of climaxes and nodes, presenting a type of repetition that cleverly taunts the listener’s sense of timing.

While I enjoyed Fade In Fade Out, I still feel it is bit below Landing’s work on Oceanless. None of the songs quite achieve the euphoric, blissed-out levels of “Harmonies” or “Structure vs. Chaos.” Eminently pleasant, Fade In Fade Out cannot be called gripping. Nevertheless, it makes for good background. This is not meant to be overly critical – it is quite difficult to create a decent ambiance. Landing gives us drone music that acts like clouds rolling across a blue sky, enigmatic and removed, save for the occasional rainstorm.

By Andy Urban

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