Listening to “City of Glass” (from 2012’s Night Within), it’s apparent that Daniel Lea (L A N D) has embraced an entirely different tonal set. Credit mixer Ben Frost for the evolution. Lea’s former darkjazz murmurings have been reduced to ghosts, replaced by the sounds of an industrial factory. The percussion is front and center, and not just any percussion. The largest impact is made by copper pipes, which one can imagine being played live on the factory floor by suddenly motivated workers. Inject crotales and aluphone (which look like little cymbals) and tam-tam (a small gong), and the sounds leap from the speakers. The stereo effects reveal themselves as early as “Neutra”, which offers a duel between left and right, with no apparent winner. Other times, the percussion hides deep in the mix, quietly playing in a single speaker (“Metamorphosis”) until called to the front of the class.
The mysterious nature of L A N D’s music is as much a product of its composition. When uncommon sounds are combined with percussive propulsion and dark atmospheres, the result is total immersion. Anoxia mesmerizes the listener by creating a sonic world unlike any other, as is Lea’s intention. The artist imagines a decaying post-human earth, a la Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us ~ echoes of artifacts left behind, joined by those of reclamation: timid animals growing bold, vegetation infiltrating the cracks. If any of humanity survives, it may be reduced to making primal music: banging on pots and pans, attuning and atoning. And if so, Anoxia may be its sonic blueprint. (Richard Allen)