Land Observations is the musician and artist James Brooks. 2014 see’s the release of The Grand Tour, the follow up to 2012’s critically acclaimed debut album, Roman Roads IV-XI. Where that was concerned with the ancient roads of communication and conquest that stretched across the former Roman Empire and Republic, the new album creates an imaginary travelogue through Western, Central and Southern Europe with reference to the historic Grand Tour.
The album was recorded on the edge of the Bavarian Alps on just one electric 6-string guitar – exploring the potential of the instrument in relation to layers, rhythm, melody and timbre for creating soundscapes and musical narratives. Historically The Grand Tour is seen as the beginning of cultural travel and tourism as we have come to know it. The tour’s itinerary was designed to expand minds through experiencing the treasures of European art, music, architecture and topography.
Influenced as much by Tom Verlaine, or Takoma guitarists, as Steve Reich and Kosmische groups, Land Observations explores the power of minimalism to create warm, evocative atmospherics. As Brooks himself says, “it’s more a case of being in the here and now and allowing yourself to be open to the ghosts of the past. I want them to definitely be contemporary records that just try to ask questions. That notion of momentum but also the poetry of it, if you have a certain kind of mindset you can’t help but be swept up in the evocative quality of it. I want to try and grapple with that in some way, the melancholic introspection that travel encourages.