You’re been driving through the undulating landscape for hours. You’ve exhausted the collection of tapes you picked up at a backwater op shop and the radio is no longer picking up the hits of the 80s, 90s and today. As twilight falls and a lilac hue tints the hills you want some travelling music that reflects the peaceful yet eerie, beautiful yet faintly threatening landscape. It’s time to reach for L/O/N/G.
Self-consciously explained as playing “with the dateline, the transgression and the longing”, L/O/N/G is the name of the collaboration between American Chris Eckman (songwriter of country rock band The Walkabouts) and Austrian Rupert Huber (a mostly electronic artist who has composed music for C.S.I Miami and Sex And The City, and is currently working on an installation project for Airport Vienna where the aeroplanes will control the music).
The ten spacious tracks on their debut ‘American Primitive’ are a seamless fusion of alt country and laid-back electronica. Sounding as though they could have been penned by a modern-day Neil Young, these steamy, dreamy songs are both contemporary and inescapably rural. Eckman’s BA in Philosophy and Huber’s classical background contribute to songs that are long and atmospheric but always layered and stirring.
Female backing vocals on most tracks give the album the tone of an extended, laid-back version of Where the Wild Roses Grow (or a less pretentious Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell).
Settle back in your seat as darkness falls and turn American Primitive up as you watch the abandoned railway cottages, spindly cabbage trees and towering power pylons slide past your window.
Kathryn van Beek
Click here to listen to Wrong Train Comin‘ from American Primitive: