Land Observations: British Road Trip Music

Any list of “road trip” music will always – inevitably – include Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’, perhaps some Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. The concept of “road trip” is etched in our minds as something very American, and suitably bouncy and upbeat American music is the de rigueur choice to soundtrack any road trip worth it’s mileage. That’s great, providing you’re driving a Cadillac on one of those endless US highways, under the hot sunshine.

But here in the UK, this kind of music doesn’t feel quite right if you’re driving under the grey skies and drizzle that seem to grace our shores even at the height of Summer.

No…if you’re looking for genuine British road music, you need something moodier than a Beach Boys singalong. Something like Land Observations, the new project from James Brooks (formerly of Mute Records motorik melancholics, Appliance).

The Roman Roads EP (released August 1st) is quite literally British road music – a taster for a full-length album of layered guitar compositions inspired by the major Roman roads that existed in Britain & Europe.

The tone is melancholic, but quite addictive and hypnotic – think Brian Eno’s ambient compositions, only with guitars. The EP consists of three tracks: Viae (In C Major), Octavian to Augustus, and Fosse Way (Fragment). If it sounds a bit pretentious to you, well, it thankfully isn’t.

The beauty of Landscape Observations is the simplicity of the music, with each guitar playing simple, repetitive parts that build up and, together, make up a very interesting whole. The music is very unassuming and serene. Stately, even.

For a project inspired by geographical locations, Land Observations does very successfuly what it says on the tin: those tracks really do take you somewhere… to those roads of old, and you can almost picture them as you listen to the tracks.

To hear them and for more info, visit: 

Land Observations: Roman Road EP (out now)

Rating: 4/5