Landon Caldwell & Flower Head Ensemble “Simultaneous Systems”

Landon Caldwell is one of those artists that I keep seeing on all sorts of releases these days (like Foxy Digitalis fave Patrick Shiroishi). Considering the quality of all this work, though, I’m thankful. On Simultaneous Systems, the group finds cohesion and transcendence despite being states apart. Reminiscent of the Jusell, Prymek, Sage, Shiroishi recordings on cached.media, Simultaneous Systems veers into dreamier territories to find solace in those illusions.

Caldwell assembled one hell of an ensemble for this project: Thom Nguyen, Mark Tester, K. Dylan Edrich, Nick Yeck-Stauffer, Tom Lageveen, and Mac Blackout. Three sprawling pieces that flow together seamlessly, Simultaneous Systems is an aural reverie. “Reaching Out” finds Lageveen and Blackout in an alto sax tug-of-war, pushing and pulling with precise movement, each ceding control as the ephemeral keys and laid back rhythms bubble underneath. Hypnotically beautiful with a gauzy undertone, there’s a sense of relief that washes over you as organ drones fade into silence. This music may be borne from the necessity of the world’s current fire, but it suggests exciting new avenues forward.

Even though I know these sounds were recorded remotely and assembled by Caldwell, the cohesion of the music makes it hard to believe. Moments of ethereal calm traverse cavernous rivers on “Life Underground.” Synths, pan pipes, and horns holler out for daylight, stretching arms upward for anything resembling the sun. “Woven Realm” builds from ambient free jazz into a spiritual, purifying romp on gossamer wings, light and heavy at the same time. With Caldwell’s intuitive guidance, he and the Flower Head Ensemble levitate skyward on golden wings, cleansed and ready to face the world anew.

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