Neuland

Neuland

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As former members of legendary synth soundtrackers Tangerine Dream, Peter Baumann and Paul Haslinger were well acquainted with instrumental electronic music that built cinematic tension as it slowly burned. After years of friendship and individual exploration, Baumann and Haslinger came together as Neuland, diving deep into moody electronic meditations that held threads of Tangerine Dream's core sound but also wandered into new territory. Recorded over multiple sessions in 2018 and 2019, the 15 pieces that make up the duo's sprawling self-titled debut largely stay in dark, edgy ambient territory but sometimes break out into softer environments. Buried samples and abrupt stops add dynamic bounce to more melodic songs like "Counting on Time," while dissonance fights dreaminess on meandering tracks like "Liquid Sky." The second half of the collection moves between horror movie moments like "Movement 3" and the chill-out room ambience of tracks like "The Long Now." "The Lost Cord" draws closer to classic Krautrock sounds. After opening with swimmy synth pads and a nervous, scattershot melody, something sounding like a heavy bass guitar riff is introduced along with computer-like rhythmic fragments. Whether it's an actual stringed instrument or a synthesized sound is unclear, but the song's various elements clash uneasily, holding the listener captive as they spar. Much like the rest of album, the song sounds suspended in a deep space vacuum, searching for resolution in slow motion. It's an immersive affair, one that clangs and floats for well over an hour. Every change is subtle enough to drift by without being noticed, but these organized variations keep it from ever getting stale or hanging too long in one mode. Masterful navigation of analog synthesizers keeps Neuland from being strictly a nostalgia trip or a messy improvisation. The massively ambitious album stays engaging and mysterious for its duration, making it a must for Tangerine Dream enthusiasts or anyone interested in the less beat-oriented side of synthesizer music.

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