Published May 15, 2014As far as guitarists go, James Brooks isn't your average riff merchant, and he proved that on sprawling and hypnotic 2012 debut as Land Observations, Roman Roads IV-XI. Picking up where he last left off, the kosmische-minded musician is returning with The Grand Tour, which will arrive in North America on July 29 through Mute (and a day earlier in Europe).
The album was made using only an electric guitar, with recording taking place at the edge of the Bavarian Alps. Brooks, who is a former member of British post-rock band Appliance, recorded on analogue tape and played his guitar through vintage amps. A press release notes that he "[explored] the potential of the instrument in relation to layers, rhythm, melody and timbre."
The album title refers to a trip around Europe that became popular among wealthy young men between the 17th and 19th centuries. The track names reference landmarks along the way, and the music is designed to mirror these locales. This means that "the album is not concerned with arrival, its concern is with the journey, the experiences, the momentum of travel through re-imagining a grand tour."
Scroll past the tracklist below to watch a 30-second trailer for the album.
The Grand Tour:
1. On Leaving the Kingdom for the Well-Tempered Continent
2. Flatlands and the Flemish Roads
3. From the Heights of the Simplon Pass
4. Nice to Turin
5. Ode to Viennese Streets
6. The Brenner Pass
7. Walking the Warm Colonnades
8. Return to Ravenna