The World on Higher Downs

Land Patterns

by Dominic Umile

7 August 2007


In another chapter of works that commenced implausibly in bedrooms, a Wisconsin-based quartet’s bid called Land Patterns is a carefully considered ambient collection which emphasizes the concept of layering elements until things are almost opaque. More and more acts these days are producing gorgeous drones that refuse relegation to the background, namely Hefty’s Solo Andata or Stars of the Lid, but The World on Higher Downs often looks to shoegazer influences, sometimes to the extent that Eluvium does on his Talk Amongst the Trees LP. “Two Aged Windows” fills seven-plus minutes of early mornings with understated electronic swooshes, chime and string interplay, and even finger snaps; its suddenly surging bridge defines it as one of Land Patterns’ undeniable “oh shit, please turn this up” achievements. World member Eric Bray, who is recognized in techno circles for his work as Arctic Hospital, slowly dresses “Alpine Low’s” xylophone loops with abundant laptop atmospherics, and although it’s a busy track, the subsequent “Sun Court” closes the album with more goings-on — its exceptionally radiant strings, guitar loops, and cymbal crashes not only debunk the stigma unbelievably still associated with recording in bedrooms, it makes it rather difficult to leave the comfort of your own.

Land Patterns



We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times.

//Mixed media

Counterbalance: Elvis Costello's 'Imperial Bedroom'

// Sound Affects

"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

READ the article