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LAND – ‘Down By This River’

by Thomas Bedward July 21, 2020

LAND – ‘Down By This River’

A compelling new outfit from Rimini, Italy, LAND have built their sound on an unwavering passion for electronic music. Influenced by the vibrant and enduring wave of ‘80s bands that first pioneered the genre, as well as more modern and technologically experimental projects, LAND find themselves somewhere between the new and old, casting a shadow across the evolving genre with their dark atmospherics and dominant post-punk sounds. After finding their footing with a string of engaging releases such as 2011’s hour-long epic ‘Sintonie’ and last year’s ‘Again’, the band have truly become a force to be reckoned with, a now with the release of new EP, ‘Down By This River’, they’re about to become a global sensation.

Bringing to light three original tracks and a series of engaging remixes, the new EP is a brilliant blend of digital mutations and electronic evolutions, opening up the dark beating heart of the genre and letting the world peer in. Opening with the title track, ‘Down By This River’ wastes no time in asserting itself, offering a mesmerising cascade of solitary keys and quick-fire, percussive beats that set the stage for Emy’s brooding vocals. Deeply melodic and imbued with a subtle, post-punk energy, there’s shades of brilliance set awash in a sea of synth-laden electronica.

Following cut ‘Hateful’ arrives with a far more ruminative and celestial sound, one that pays homage to the new wave and deep house sounds of the past, while also looking for something more modern. It’s a mesmerising and wonderfully rich sound that continues to build, creating a bold new world that you can easily lose yourself in. Closing the trilogy of original compositions is the New Order and Depeche Mode-inspired anthem of ‘Anyway’, a far more experimental and high tempo piece that catapults the listener into a magical world that lingers somewhere between unwavering proto-punk spirit, sultry urban beats and brooding melodic soundscapes.

As the second half of the EP begins, LAND send the listener on a kaleidoscopic journey of remixes and remasters, reworking the three original tracks into a cosmic adventure that will leave even the most unshakable listeners speechless. The daily reworks of ‘Hateful’ and ‘Anyway’, along with ‘D.B.T.R. (A Ray of Light)’ bring to light a far more industrial and minimalist sound, embracing a darkwave core and infusing each track with a slow-burning tension. In swift comparison, final track, ‘Down by This River (Electrified)’ glistens with a lighter, more cinematic sound that completely changes the tone of the track, hitting hard with a newfound levity that will charm and entertain to equal measure.

A release that shines through different shades and tones, ‘Down By This River’ is the sound of a band who know exactly where they sit in the ever-changing electronic landscape. Filled with confidence, solid songs, and obvious passion, it’s a release that stands firmly in place, but also isn’t afraid to shake things up, and it’s all the better because of that. Arguably one of the most engaging and experimental releases so far, ‘Down By This River’ is a proud and polished EP that will surely make its mark.

Score: 8/10

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