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Land Patterns


The World On Higher Downs is a four-piece group whose key members consist of Nathaniel Ritter, Troy Schafer, Eric Bray and Vincent Wachowiak, who all reside in different parts of Wisconsin. What started out as a loose idea based upon multiple collaborations, eventually blossomed into what is now known as Land Patterns, their debut CD on Tokyo-based label Plop. The World On Higher Downs was birthed out of Troy Schafer and Nathaniel Ritter's bedroom recording sessions that began in late spring of 2005, which mostly consisted of keyboards, heavily effected electric guitar, and violin. After a few months of steady writing and recording, Vince Wachowiak was brought in to help add a few parts to the beginning sketches. Soon after, Eric Bray was sent the base tracks to which he added electronics and fleshed out the tracks with his production abilities (showcased in his other recording projects Arctic Hospital, Agend, and Talve). Eric sent back his developments and more instrumentation was added, including xylophone, vibraphone, horns, and orchestral drums. The songs were sent back in the mail to Eric, where he mixed down the tracks and gave them a cohesive sound. Clichés in record-making were avoided, such as playing acoustic guitar over a sampled electronic drum beat -- instead, the group made their sounds more smooth, more layered, staying away from digital cut-ups and trickery. Influences by shoegaze acts such as Slowdive, or other groups like Labradford are noticeable in the tracks, although their fresh songs make it hard to distinguish whether it's rock or dance music that gives the album originality and the comfort of analog warmth and digital coolness at the same time. Land Patterns sits somewhere between the murky depths of seasonal depression, cabin fever, and the blooming first days of spring. It has an intellectual quality to it, but maintains a child-like innocence. Taking ideals from both darker and lighter sides of music, this is an album that fits somewhere in between; encapsulating the greater aspects of both sides into one singular vision.