Sometimes The Future Is Now (Maybe)
Lansing-Dreiden - ‘The Incomplete Triangle’ (Kemado Records - 2004)
Lansing-Dreiden are a design collective from Brooklyn (Wait - wait - come back - it’ll be alright, I promise.), and I’ve listened to their recent album ‘The Incomplete Triangle’ at least 50 times since it first graced my doorstep. The only way to do the album justice is to take it track by track, which some people find boring, but as I am incapable of being boring it shouldn’t be a big deal.
1) Metal on a Gun - This is future rock. How do I know, if I’m here now and not here later? Well, lotsa stuff has been called futuristic: Sun Ra, Visage and Patience & Prudence, for example. And they were. But it’s not every song that makes me think of disembodied heads singing in the cocktail lounge of the George W. Bush Memorial Space Station on Mars in the year 2525. “Metal on a Gun” does. The interplay of the voices and guitars as they work off of one another...god, that IS boring. Forget I said that. Pretend I said this instead: “When drum machines go to heaven they get to play this song forever”.
2) The Eternal Lie - This track could be a 70’s-era Golden Earring tune found between “Radar Love” and “Twilight Zone” on that $2.99 greatest-hits cassette you dug out of the bargain bin. It has “Radar Love”’s propulsiveness and the greatest gnarled 5 second guitar solo of the past 20 years. It has been waxed and buffed for space-flight.
3) An Uncut Diamond - More jet propulsion ratatat tat. Moogy swirls of prog nougat stay out of the way of speedy riffs and utter surety of purpose. (The purpose itself doesn’t even matter. It’s the confidence behind the purpose that is so impressive. In music anyway. Sometimes.) I admire the vision that doesn’t blink or wink at me. There are too many homebound arts & crafts projects taped together by all those geniuses making electro/electronic-dance/rock masterpieces in the basement that give me the feeling that any minute, right in the middle of a song, there will be a knock on the door and a shout of: “Dude, mom wants her beatbox back. And oh yeah, she hates you!” Not so, Lansing-Dreiden. As a design collective they take the integrity of the space surrounding their space-rock a lot more seriously than a lot of music collectives I could mention.
4) The Advancing Flags - A pretty, boutique speed metal riff hides the dread of a funhouse synth that is right out of a Goblin-scored chase scene in an Argento Itala-splatter epic. No really, it does. Well, not completely. You can feel the dread a little bit.
5) The Missing Message - Swoon-worthy. Crispy Ambulance-worthy. What was the name of that Death Cab For Cutie side-project again? Exactly. You won’t remember either when you hear this shit. Narcotized echoes of past U.K. artpunk glories perhaps, but beholden to no one. (I have that last line tattooed on my forearm.)
6) A Silent Agreement - And it just gets better. A warm bath of plinky synth gorgeousness. What a mid-80’s issue of Melody Maker would have called: “A lachrymatory crystal sugar cathedral spun from eiderdown filigree.”
7) Laid In Stone - A wonderful dream of a song. If it’s possible, I’d like Lansing-Dreiden to design my dreams in the future. I had one the other night where I was playing football!! I don’t want to play football! I want to fly naked over the trees listening to Alan Parsons and Slowdive coo in my ear.
8) An Effect Of The Night - Even dreamier if that’s possible. Like the death of thought. Like having your hand held by Jiddu Krisnamurti in Ojai, California under the spreading orange trees.
9) Glass Corridor - Perhaps the most derivative track on the album. In the sense that it calls attention to its elders in more obvious ways than the other songs do. Even so, it is electro nu-rock funk that does a great job of evoking the aura of possibility that surounded the original new wave explosion like a black leather glove on a bony white hand.
10) I.C.U. - Depeche pastiche with a dash of Alphaville and New Order for added flavor. Both “Glass Corridor” and “I.C.U.” are practically begging for Trevor Horn and/or DFA remixes. Trevor can have the (night mix) and DFA the (dub version).
11) Disenchanted - Like blancmange, the dessert and the band, only fruitier and richer and a marvel of invention never reached (so far) by indie darlings The Faint (But achieved once before by ahead of their retro times -3 years later and they would have been huge- DMX Krew.).
12) Desert Lights - It all ends on this high of highs. A dance-floor anthem for the raver turned waver and their Cure-besotted parents (it really has been that long, just in case you forgot.) Do you sense the pattern yet of ‘The Incomplete Triangle”? One side is future rock, one side is shimmery shoegazery, and the third side is a trip down memory lane ending at the employee entrance to Chess King. Which is at the back of the store. And reachable only by travelling thru the bowels of the mall. You never know who you’ll meet there. Could be Santa grumbling past on his way to the sleigh or that dick from the corn dog place or that cool guy with the Love & Rockets badge attached to his Record Town vest or maybe even the scrunchi-haired/wayfarer-wearing love of your life. If the triangle is incomplete, dear dreamy boys and girls, it’s only because it’s missing you.