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CD Feature/ Latitude/Longitude

img  Tobias

There can never be too much music, as long as one accepts the fact that the wheel does not need to be reinvented each single day. No C major chord strummed by an acoustic guitar will ever sound the same again, every beat of the drum will be slightly different than the one before. And only if you don’t listen with your heart will you claim that Latitude/Longitude have recorded an album which merely harks back to the past.

On the sheer surface, of course, their eponymous debut does seem to hint at the 70s quite a bit. A time, when songs could have any length between a few second and eight minutes, when they were not necessarily bound to the chains of a big chorus and when titles either had clever brackets - “(In My Backyard Are) Early Thieves”  or a question mark at the end – “Something unfriendly, right?”. A time, too, that an album would take as long as it had to take (and not as long as the 78 possible minutes of a CD demanded) and that “space” was “the place”. All of this is true for “Latitude/Longitude”, which builds on the most tender of folk guitars, delicate organ harmonies, tiny crackles of noise in the background and verses, which are repeated so often that they circle and swivel around in your mind, until they take on an entirely new meaning. Tracks rely on simple chord structures and are driven forward by microscopic changes, little additions in the aural texture or instrumentation – this is a gentle hypnosis, not a brutal attack, an album which prefers to whisper, not holler. The band has been compared to watching the dawn of man sequence from 2001 and there is definitely a cosmic theme running through these eight pieces – the hushed vocals on “The Challenger Deep” even come courtesy of a singer by the name of Orion. And yet, nothing is as obvious as it may seem – there is still a long way to go from here to the beer-drenched, fists-upraised frenzy of “Space Lord, mother, mother”. The more one one listens, the more the uniqueness of the approach becomes apparent. Michael Garofalo and Patrick McCarthy, the duo forming Latitude/Longitude have recorded an intimate, romantic and deeply personal album, a collection of songs, which work on their own but only really shine in the context of the entire cycle. Their fragile pieces are sometimes disrupted by distorted drums or feedback loops. And when they sing of “flying your bike down by the sea”, it doesn’t sound like a ganja-trip – but like a sweet childhood memory.

“Radios, clarinets and toy instruments” were used in addition to guitars and synthesizers and this strange orchestra plays the quietest space rock imaginable. The band likes to call it “electro-acoustic dream songs”, which makes perfect sense as well. Whatever you call it, we’re glad Latitude/Longitude decided to record them. There may be some totally regular C major chords in them, but they hardly ever sounded as beautiful as here.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Latitude/Longitude
Homepage: Latitude/Longitude at Squid Co.

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