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Land of Light

The instruments behind Jonny Nash and Kyle Martin's brilliant musical experiment

by Karen Day in Culture on 16 November 2012

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Land Of Light, an eponymous new album from London-based duo Jonny Nash and Kyle Martin, is an ethereal labor of love intended for serious listening. The talented musicians spent the last three years creating the 37-minute-long LP, and the upshot is a highly sophisticated set of sounds that channels Nash and Martin's interest in constructing thoroughly evolved, experimental compositions.

To achieve the record that they feel deserves a linear listen "if you find yourself taking for granted all the natural beauty that surrounds you, caught up in trivial occurrences that interfere with your daily happiness, letting social constructs shape your mood," Land of Light used a stealth supply of older electronic equipment. "Digital reverb featured strongly, as well as a bunch of late '80s/early '90s digital synths," Nash tells us.

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We recently caught up with Nash to learn more about the instruments used on Land Of Light. Check out our interview and images below for a full look at how they came to create the meticulously-recorded album, which features cover art by Mario Hugo and is out now on CD and vinyl from Piccadilly Records.

How did you and Kyle Martin come to work together on Land of Light?

We met through a mutual friend George Thompson, who records on Andrew Weatherall’s label Bird Scarer under the name “Black Merlin”. We lived really close to each other and started hanging out about 6 years ago. We shared similar interests and after swapping gear and talking about collaborating for a while, we finally decided to work on this project back in 2008.

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How would you describe the Land of Light sound overall?

Hard to say really, it's definitely about depth and layering, losing consciousness of where one part ends and the other starts.

What part of the recording process was the most time consuming for you guys?

We really approached this project as an experiment to learn more about the art of producing records with all kinds of gear, software and hardware. We really enjoyed experimenting with different recording and processing techniques, so this took a long time.

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In what kind of setting do you imagine people listening to Land of Light?

We just came back from a Japan tour and had a wonderful experience listening to the album in its entirety during a car journey at sunrise. Late night, early morning and outdoors also works really well!

What do you appreciate most about using vintage equipment?

We also used a fair bit of new machinery and software too—we just pick the best tool for the job. However with older gear, the interfaces are often conducive to creativity.

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What kind of ambiance do you set up for live gigs?

We had the perfect set up in a small Tokyo venue Forest Limit. The equipment is set up in the center of the venue, we faced each other and the audience were 360 degrees around us. Good lighting and visuals are also key!

See more images of the instruments, along with captions from Jonny Nash, in the slideshow below. All photos by Andrea DiCenzo.

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