Land Observations is the solo project of James Brooks, which debuted at the Short Circuit presents Mute festival at the Roundhouse in May 2011.
Brooks’ previous band, Appliance, released four critically acclaimed albums on Mute before disbanding. Since then, Brooks has developed his visual and audio art with various shows across the UK, North America and Europe (his current exhibition, The Information Exchange, is at Domobaal, London, WC1 until August 2012). Throughout, music has remained a constant, with Brooks now connecting his conceptual approaches to instrumental musical compositions.
Attempts to develop a new project alongside the visual art meant that Brooks did a lot of home recording at his flat in Hackney, East London. Land Observations, developed out of an interest in the former Roman roads that lay just a short walk from his front door - roads of communication and conquest that stretch from the old City of London and out across parts of Britain, Europe and beyond.
Land Observations sees Brooks exploring the power of minimalism via layered, repetitive electric VI string guitar to create warm, evocative instrumentals. Although Brooks spent considerable time researching Roman Roads - with each of the compositions responding to the psychogeography of an individual road - this isn't just an historical project, or an attempt to look only into the past. There is an obvious fascination with Roman Roads as man made structures, with their bold lines carving through the landscape, creating an album that's a reflection on the broader ideas of travel, momentum and progress.
Roman Roads IV - XI is released on Mute on CD, vinyl and download, with packaging featuring original drawings by Brooks. The album was recorded at the Bridge and Tunnel Mobile, Berlin and engineered and mixed by Mark Bihler and James Brooks.
Before the Kingsland Road
From Nero's Palace
The Chester Road
Battle Of Watling Street