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Music Review: Land Observations – Roman Roads IV-XI

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I love all kinds of music, but music that has a deeper meaning and evokes emotion in me is the kind of music I find especially exciting. When I received Land Observations’ debut album, Roman Roads IV-XI (by James Brooks), I immediately read the press release before inserting the CD in my computer.

My interest was captured when I found out the album was based on the Roman Roads that stretch from the old City of London and out across parts of Britain. This is truly an audio artistic composition of the way he felt when he traveled on these roads.

The album is a quiet instrumental alternative rock masterpiece. It’s a solo project and Brooks plays the electric guitar throughout. When I listened to the whole piece, it put me in a hypnotic, meditative state. It’s relaxing to listen to, yet there are interesting elements incorporated into the songs that are laced with surprises.

The first song on the album, “Before the Kingsland Road,” starts soft and progresses to an almost anxious state before you hear the guitar strumming. Then, it almost takes you on a journey to serenity.

“Aurelian Way” has a nervous repetitive quality when it starts. It reminds me of an anxiety attack. But then, as the instrumentals shift, it changes and becomes much more mellow, inviting, and actually relaxing. You feel like you can see yourself driving down a long road even if you have never traveled on the Roman Roads.

“The Chester Road” is a little more intense. I’m not sure if it’s a winding road, but it has movement and the hypnotic repetitive music puts you in a Zen-like state.

The last song, “The Battle of Watling Street,” is the most inviting song of them all. Although it’s repetitive like the other songs, it has a pleasant rhythm and makes you feel happy. To me, it’s amazing how certain chords can either make you feel anxious, happy, or sad, and Brooks knows how to invoke these feelings in the listener.

I’ve never been on the Roman Roads but, after hearing this music, it makes me want to pursue the journey. There is so much movement and so much feeling to this album. I would say that if you like soft instrumental rock music, you will love Land Observations’ Roman Roads IV-XI.

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