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Land Observations' 'The Grand Tour': Motorik for New Psychogeographies

Music and images that wander for people that wander.
June 24, 2014, 11:40pm

A photo of a simple landscape is suspended between the lens (virtual or otherwise) of some video camera and the actual landscape, which of course is not really "actual" because it too is in the process of being captured and reproduced. The suspended still photo is unsteady, shaking as the result of some other, third camera's movement rather than the hand's, and it's pulled away to reveal that the landscape is itself in motion, the result of wind and waves and the other stuff of time-based reality. This repeats with a new landscape and a new photo of the new landscape, and as Land Observation's soft-sided, warm ambient-motorik lulls the viewer into a friendly stupor, the relationships between the still photos, the corresponding landscapes, and the cameras become more and more confused. Everything, it seems, is dynamic in its own personal yet interrelated way.

It's a simple, obvious concept but one that becomes very effective. Land Observations is James Brooks, one of the principles behind the turn-of-the-millenium postrock/krautrock band Appliance. His music tends to fall in love with its own melodies a bit too much, but Brooks' guitar hypnosis is worth spending some time with, or traveling with, as he might say. The abstracted concept of Land Observations, a audio-visual project by design, is pyschogeography: "I want [Land Observations] to be an umbrella term that allows me to explore different environments or the natural world in some way in musical form," Brooks says in his bio. His forthcoming recordThe Grand Tour, is about the self-expanding possibilities of travel, or wandering: "its concern is with the journey, the experiences, the momentum of travel through re-imagining a grand tour." (via FACT)