Music Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide added exposure to musicians I respect. The bar is set high. To pass Landschaft quality control, the music must be of a quality that meets or surpasses the standard that would secure them a commercial recording release, and/or that I feel an itch to do a Landschaft mix of. I do not review everything they produce - see the band's own websites for complete chronologies - what I review is what I encounter, when I encounter it.

The Golden Sores: 16 June 2009

website (artist): defunct

The Artist: This ensemble have an "I wish I had thought of that" name: culled from an obscure corner of the bible, 1 Samuel 6:[various sub paragraphs].

Depending on which version of the bible you read - (and I prefer the fire and brimstone bombast of the King James), the Golden Sores translated variously as emerods, hemorrhoids, tumours etc relate to an invasion of mice that bought with it a plague (possibly bubonic) to the Israelites. The Israelites emerge from a dark spiritual place, in the (previous) book of Judges to emerge under a more enlightened regime, a kingship in Samuel. The plague then could be seen as a punishment on the Israelites for their impure ways, though the reinforcement of the punishment is not accompanied by an overt message to reprent, rather, the text implies the Israelites needed to find this out for themselves, aided by their evolving wisdom. The medium for relating the lesson, the journey of the Ark of the Covenant between Israel and the Philistines (who get rid of it back to the Israelites after bad things happen) Thus the scene is set. A message of reflection, repentance and learning encapsulated in music. The definitive commentary - and it is VERY extensive is at: Samuel

Album: Asdod to Ekron

The Album, Asdod to Ekron. ... This message is conveyed in achingly wonderful drones, the most visceral, primal form of communication; pre-verbal and from the soul. Touching the same place as early period Popol Vuh, but bringing a sensibility of their own to bear - The Golden Sores' music moves at a ponderous, considered pace. A passage in a John Le Carre book I have just read gives a flavour of the space this music inhabits: "...the lucid unencompassable majesty of the mountains drew me upward." This music for me is a journey through landscapes assisted by and confounded in turn by capricious devine forces, with the biblical battles as a metaphor lurking in the background. Where redemption is a possibility, but not a certainty, but vengence and punishment for transgression is always a threat. The symbolism in the name of the ensemble/album is not literally evident in the music, it is implicit in the architecture of the sound. Building, cacophonous, moving. As moving as a Victorian hymn, or a storm under trees. That it makes pictures in my mind is a reason for me to listen to it again and again.

Album: A Peaceable Kingdom

Towers of considered noise, shards of upward pointing glass bisecting the clouds. Think the fractured cathedrals of Lionel Fieninger. Repitition is TGS's modus operandi, a device they employ to wondrous effect, with a pulsing living throb counterbalancing the higher pitches. I put the album on in the rain, thunder and lightning beating up the sky, a perfect moment for the pages of the music to enfold me. The tones shimmer and glide with fragile harmonics cutting across the darker, warmer tones. As with Ashdod, the Old Testament references hang over this work; a knife over the sacrificial lamb's throat, each piece scratching and clawing it's way into ones senses, and achieving a rare success from a wholly instrumental work - dialogue; a dialogue of texture, architecture and culture. The album is released on the highly respected Bloodlust label (catalogue reference Bloodlust 126). Buy this album here