Land – Praha

Land is a project with an aura of mystery. Their releases and website don’t give much background information. Apparently they have been active since 1988, with various pauses. Their first release though was issued more than 10 years later: the 10″ ‘Idi i Smotri’ in 2001, followed by the excellent cd album “Opuscule”. Only some tapes were made in their early years. Divine Comedy has announced a retrospective with material from Land’s first decade, so I’m curious how they have evolved in the course of time. This Praha 10″ is the first part of a trilogy called ‘CĂ©lestine Orlac’, each dealing with another city. ‘Wien’ will be the next episode. The music of Land is also not so easy to describe. Something like a mixture of ambient and classical, with some industrial and experimental elements.

The nostalgic mood which was already present on their album is even more clear on this 10″. ‘Praha’ takes you back to the restless decades between the world wars. There are wonderful black & white photos on the stylish sleeve. The first song ‘Kavarna Nardoni, 20 Hod’ contains the repetive sound of an old mechanic typewriter and the crackling of vinyl. On top of that you hear a moody ambient track. While listening you are wondering what kind of story or letter is being typed. has it perhaps something to do with the mysterious CĂ©lestine Orlac?
‘Pantomina’ sounds more bombastic, with fierce rhythms, noises, orchestral elements and somewhat spooky choral singing. There is something very tragic and dramatic about this track.

The B-side starts with an interesting track with a more experimental structure, with various loops, heavy drums and moody synths & strings, mixed with background cafe sounds and human voices. There is a lot of tension underneath here, which is relieved by a cheerful circus melody. The final track is a slow dark ambient composition, where dark drones accompany a male voice coming from a mysterious past. What does this character know that we don’t? The track is ended by floating classical sounds, vanishing into air when you try to grab them. A wonderful record with an unique atmosphere.

P.S.: I was not completely sure which side was A and which one was B, so I may have mixed that up.

artist: Land
label: Divine Comedy Records
details: 10', 4 tracks [DC025]