As if dedicating his entire debut album to roads built by the Romans, Land Observations (the solo moniker of James Brooks, ex-Appliance) has announced that his next album, released on July 29 through Mute Records, will be an ode to The Grand Tour. The album itself will be called The Grand Tour. Whoa.
Apparently The Grand Tour was a circuit through Europe which became popular in the 18th century that was a rite of passage for rich University graduates and marked the “beginning of cultural travel and tourism as we have come to know it.” Taking travellers from London into France and through the highlights of Western Europe, “the tour’s itinerary was designed to expand minds through experiencing the treasures of European art, music, architecture and topography.” In other words, it was MTV’s The Real World with less douchebaggery and more Italian art.
Land Observations recorded The Grand Tour with nothing but his electric guitar whilst sitting on the edge of the Bavarian Alps (sweet tax write-off) and will probably stretch the John Fahey/Takoma-style guitar explorations further into the motorik-kraut direction that his debut record did, thus becoming its own Grand Tour by expanding the mind through the exploration of the treasures of layering rhythm, timbre, and melody, inspired by key sites throughout Europe. Sample a little bit of the album along with a little bit of the album’s inspiration in the trailer below:
My only gripe with all this is that Brooks has failed to capitalize on the abundant available entendre by barely announcing a live date outside of London, let alone his very own grand tour. More dates have got to follow or I’ll have a logical-pun itch that will never be scratched.
The Grand Tour tracklist:
01. On Leaving the Kingdom for the Well-Tempered Continent
02. Flatlands and the Flemish Roads
03. From the Heights of the Simplon Pass
04. Nice to Turin
05. Ode to Viennese Streets
06. The Brenner Pass
07. Walking the Warm Colonnades
08. Return to Ravenna
07.23.14 - Bristol, UK - Cube Cinema *
09.13.14 - London, UK - Cafe Oto
* Joe McPhee, Chris Corsano