L.A.N.D - Anoxia [Important Records - 2015]Anoxia is the second album recorded under the name of L.A.N.D. by composer/ sound designer Daniel Lea. Following on from 2012s debut album Night Within. The album was mixed by Ben Frost at Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, and mastered in Berlin by Rashad Becker at D & M.
Album opener Labyrinthitis begins with some almost tribal sounding drum beats, before layers of new sounds are added to the mix throughout the duration of the track. What starts as something quite minimal descends into organised chaos. The sense of urban decay is never far away and one is immediately transported into a world of brutalist architecture and J. G. Ballard, who incidentally gets a mention on the promotional material, his influence is obviously noted and evident to all.
Neutra, follows suit with a really, hypnotic beat kicking things off, as layer upon layer of samples are added into the mix. Less chaotic and more measured sounding, Neutra is a very coherent piece of post-industrialism.
Drop City comes on like the soundtrack to a brutalist nightmare, various ambient drones weave their way eloquently through the mix, whilst metallic scraping and clanking sounds add a sense of a harsher reality ready to take over.
Metamophosis is as pure as dark ambient as you’ll find here, and at over 9 minutes the longest track on the album. Swathes of beautiful ambient synth take hold, weaving in and out of one another like smoke rising from a bonfire. The track builds very slowly, but keeps an Orb-like ambience throughout. The last two minutes of the track are packed with different layers and some brutally heavy sub-bass. This is one of my favourites on the album.
Seconds opens with some noisy drones, which drop out completely, before a jazzier, more industrial sound kicks in around a minute and a half in. The track settles into a hypnotic beat, and reminds me at times of Demdike Stare’s industrial horror soundscapes.
Equinox is up next, and the ghost of Demdike Stare is present again. Measured and using industrial sounds to add a sense of queasy horror this track is another good example of how to create a brutalist soundtrack. If anyone decides to adapt another Ballard novel for film they could a lot worse than getting in touch with Daniel Lea.
Transition is a short ambient piece, packed with menace at what is perhaps laying beneath the surface ready to burst through. Title track Anoxia begins with tolling bells, that grow and develop into something quite hellish and frantic. Loud, brash and sinister, this is another very good track that uses its components to great effect, producing a fine piece of riotous, discordant industrial music. Final track End Zone follows in the wake of Transition, adding more coherent musical samples to the overarching formula of brutalist, ambient, industrial drones.
This is a fine album that as already discussed exudes images of brutalist architecture and J.G. Ballard. Crack open a copy of Crash and kick back with this as your soundtrack, you won’t be disappointed.Darren Charles