The Western Lands
"Continuing with their exhaustive, snail's-pace release schedule, New Zealand elder-statesmen improvising trio Sandoz Lab Technicians have finally given birth to their 6th album in 13 years. The Lab Techs are particularly excited about this one, as it features as its centerpiece (and title track) the band's first truly hi-fi DDD recording, having been laid down in a fully-armed digital recording studio in Sydney, Australia during 2005's micro-NZ Noise Festival (featuring fellow NZers Birchville Cat Motel, The Stumps, 1/3 Octave Band, seht, and Oz wizards Castings and 6majik9). The Western Lands is an aural journey through a constantly shifting miasmic landscape of sinister beauty and the band hereby challenges even the most recalcitrant reviewer to toss the 'lo-fi' tag at this one (okay, 2 of their last 5 albums WERE recorded entirely on Sony Walkman...). The Western Lands is book-ended by two shorter tracks recorded earlier at the groups long-time practice space at 8 Canongate, Dunedin -- the beautifully befuddled 'Nebulous' and the soothing faux-Japanoise lullaby 'Crocus Blossom.' All in all, it's a bona fide full-scale 3D mind-movie of an album, featuring the usual wide range of instrumentation (guitars, piano, violin, drums, effects, computer, autoharp, fender Rhodes electric piano, bush sax, reed flute, bamboo flutes, melodica, walkie-talkies, hand drum & cymbal, bells, glass and water... lots and lots of water)."