Kyle Landstra - Look Inward (Diatom Bath, 2012)
A brief scroll through Kyle Landstra’s discography (Look Inward, Mass Solitude, Thought Conjurer, Contemplation Through Meditation…), and it’s easy to see a theme emerging. Where many musicians utilize the drone to induce a feeling of foreboding or menace, Landstra employs it as a synthesized “om.” Look Inward is an expedition into his consciousness; one that he himself took during the recording of the work. The pieces on Look Inward were recorded during the late summer of last year on Landstra’s Roland Juno-106. The resulting vibes are very warm, due not only to the period during which they were recorded, but also to the rich analogue sound of his synthesizer.
Just prior to creating Look Inward, Landstra had exiled himself on the west coast of Michigan in the Nordhouse Dune wildlife area. It was a period of healing and self-contemplation after a series of recent personal struggles. Upon returning to his home in Kalamazoo, he entered into the hermitage during which Look Inward was recorded. The music reflects his solitude.
None of the pieces get too active or overly dense. Instead, Landstra allows the drones to stretch out and patiently modulate. His works progress, but they don’t appeal to any sense of self-aggrandizement through cheaply executed climaxes. To do so would be against the nature of self-contemplation. As listeners we are given a finger pointing in the direction of enlightenment, rather than a beaten path through emotions already well-traveled. We are encouraged to look inward ourselves.
Kyle Landstra - Ode to Hermitage from Ryan on Vimeo
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