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Album Review

Electronic music doesn't necessarily mean ambient, as Seattle's Jeff Greinke has been proving for many years. His abstract soundscapes are just that — soundscapes which often challenge, sometimes soothe, but which refuse to fall neatly into any critical pigeonhole. As part of Land (admittedly the biggest part, since he composes and produces the music, in addition to being one of the performers), he's responsible for an album that teases, tickles, grates, and always satisfies in its ambition and performance. Ed Pias contributes drums, Lesli Dalaba plays trumpet and effects, and Dennis Rea has guitar and effects, which work with Greinke's keyboards, treatments, and vocals (not vocals in the traditional sense, although given the music that almost seems a given) to create an organic — if often electronic — whole. The textures shift like waves, sometimes quietly, sometimes evoking specific places, such as the bamboo tones of China, on "Shu." "Ku" becomes disquieting with its discordance, but overall this is quite a subdued record, although "Dalaba"'s trumpet work often rears up like some hydra to change the mood for a while, and Pias can be a roaring machine behind the drums, as he proves on "Caravan." Ultimately, though, however the music's made, the test is the effect it has, and, on the basis of Land, Greinke has to be considered one of the most innovative and inventive composers in America, one who can happily mix notated and improvised music, understanding the value of both chance and formality. And he's quite a cottage industry — even the photos on the sleeve are his! Not only inventive, but multi-talented, too!

Land, Land
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