Boomkat Product Review:
Beautifully serene and contemplative, ‘Landscape Architecture’ sees classical minimalists Christina Vantzou & John Also Bennett describe quizzical scenes on their follow-up to a sterling 2018 debut for Shelter Press, all recently mixed and self-released on the duo’s Editions Basilic imprint. RIYL Harry Partch, Félicia Atkinson, Jim O’Rourke, Luc Ferrari, Catherine Christer Hennix, Pan American.
Reprising the lucid dream-like dimensions of their debut ‘Thoughts Of A Dot As It Travels A Surface’, CV & JAB assuredly trace the finest line between etheric whimsy and a genuinely spellbinding sort of atmospheric mastery on their sophomore sequence. Fashioned from petalled classical and jazz keys blended with woodwind, richly enigmatic electronics and gently aleatoric intersections of street noise and bird song with water sounds, the album’s 10 parts and bonus track limn a drift through what they evocatively term as “remote thought gardens and conceptual collonades” with an elegantly sober and yet uncanny, deeply trippy effect.
Recorded over the course of three days during a residency in Brussels, Belgium during late 2018 and mixed at home in April 2020, the results are detailed with a sure-handed directness as ephemeral as spring light. They appear like a dream that lingers on the mind’s eye for the minutes after slumber, and which seeps into waking-life to create its own perpendicular sense of time and space. That effect has long been key to Christina Vantzou’s work, from solo to collaborations with The Dead Texan and Heinrich Mueller, and it’s now clear that JAB shares this gift for elegantly supposing and luring listeners into their ever-curious explorations of ambient classical metaphysics.
Deftly able to move in any direction, the duo recall the rapt effect of Félicia Atkinson’s poetic compositions in ‘Down a passageway’, while the brooding allure of ‘Phantom Tunnel’ remind us of the quizzical nature of Catherine Christer Hennix’s style, whereas the more explicitly electronic works such as ‘Pungent Lake’ and ‘The maître d’ is dead’ capture the sort of laminal ooze and woozy effect of Jim O’Rourke’s amazing 4CD set of 2019 in a more concentrated form.