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Lansing-Dreiden



Lansing-Dreiden is a riddle wrapped in an enigma trapped inside a puzzle box, and that's just how the mysterious "company" likes it. What is known about this band, which conducts interviews only through email and never performs live, is that its members are transplanted Miami natives living in New York City, that its range of activities goes far beyond the musical sphere to encompass video, art and design, and that it harbors a certain fondness for obtuse philosophical tracts by way of self-definition. For example: "Lansing-Dreiden is a company that sees no distinction between art and commerce -- or anything else. Hence, the output of the organization may manifest itself in various forms, from video to music to product design to the construction of narratives. All Lansing-Dreiden projects are fragmentary, mere stones in a path whose end lies in a space where the very definition of 'path' paths." So now you know.

This might seem a bit too pretentious to take if the band didn't have the goods to back it up. But boy, do they. Lansing-Dreiden's music bursts on you like some metal-sheathed animal, a terrific onslaught of machine angles and raw instinct. Depending on their mood, they might evoke other bands for you -- nobody contemporary, only the masters -- their fierce, enegetic nihilism recalls The Damned as they transitioned from punk to goth; their dark, moody dissonance suggests early Bauhaus; and their soulful, thoughtful use of electronics reminds us of the genius of New Order. But these are only passing moments, and Lansing-Dreiden's first album, The Incomplete Triangle is packed with a million and one spectacular moments, every one distinctly Lansing-Dreiden.

As you might expect, there's a koan-like logic to The Incomplete Triangle. Lansing-Dreiden quotes an obscure, perhaps fictitious geometrist called Dascha Mas by way of explanation: "The incomplete triangle's three sides face a reflective horizon. Its three-sided face disappears into a black mirror. You can oftentimes only see the rope that ties it together." Got that? You'll see that idea reflected in the album's minimalist jacket design, but more practically speaking, The Incomplete Triangle is meted out in thirds; each song suite contains a different set of ideas, textures, moods. Initially the record explodes on you with all the ferocity of classic proto-punk, full of pounding rhythms, insouciant shout-along vocals and terrific metal guitar riffs. A ways in, it transitions to swirling, dreamy, ambient compositions. Then, for the home stretch, the energy returns in a group of synth-driven, New Wave-inspired dance tunes. If that sounds like an acute case of acute multiple personality disorder, think again. There may be a schematic element to The Incomplete Triangle's song cycle, but the album achieves utter continuity. The band assembled The Incomplete Triangle by layering sample upon sample of their own recordings, and that painstaking process clearly helped them make the album's complex sonic arc so satisfyingly coherent. One can only hope that this cipher of a band will indeed continue to be a band, rather than be seduced by other pursuits, so that we'll blessed with more of their puzzling and gripping musical inventions.

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