ALBUM REVIEW: Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?

Formed in Germany in 2006, LONG DISTANCE CALLING are well apart of Post Rock sovereignty. Up there with such bands as EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT.

Post Rock has a very unique attribute, if you close your eyes and gave the music your full attention it becomes immersive. It is usually a mixture of quiet guitar sections, sometimes with samples of people talking to drive emphasis of meaning for the song. That builds into massively atmospheric and epic sections that shower you with the grace of catchy lead guitar melodies. 

LONG DISTANCE CALLING releasing their seventh album entitled How Do We Want To Live? is a very fine example of what I tried to explain.

The album opens with Curiosity Part 1, which is like a monologue to the album.

Curiosity is a real bastard. It actually is the drive to adapt to changing circumstances. It fills me with joy to make discoveries everyday of things I’ve never seen before. It is a wonderful and astonishing thing to me that we are, you and I, are somehow at least one of the ways that the universe knows itself.”

As you close your eyes and listen to him speak it sucks you in. With the slow atmospheric synth vibes in the background really gives it a very space age vibe.

What follows immediately is Curiosity Part 2. It starts with a buildup reminiscent of action music straight out of a space action video game like Mass Effect. Very epic with deep hitting drums and smooth futuristic synth lines. You are then you’re hit with the awesome guitar tones, the music is very hypnotic and illustrious.

Hazard starts with classic Post Rock layering consisting of lovely build ups and melodic breakdowns. Before dropping off in the middle with a sample explaining about how if an AI became sentient, it would become vastly superior to the human race. The climax of the song which follows is majestic, the feel of the music is absolutely on point.

Voices is almost like a character study, without the video (which I will admit is actually quite sexual and graphic.) you probably wouldn’t pick up the story the song is telling. But it portrays how it would be hazardous for a human being to enter into a sexual relationship with an AI, the music fits the story of the video flawlessly.

Immunity tells the story of the COVID-19 outbreak. Showing major cities looking like ghost towns due to the national lock downs. The eerie music fits perfectly here. It really hits home the severity and impact the outbreak has had on the world.

As the album rolls on, you are greeted with the same sci-fi sounding themes. With pounding drums, punchy bass and lovely melodic guitar parts. In the song Beyond Your Limits you are surprised with vocals which almost have a Phil Collins vibe when you add the music on top. It’s seemingly pleasant through and through.

The album ends with Ashes, which starts with another monologue from an AI’s perspective talking about humans.

Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply. Until every natural resource is consumed. And the only way you can survive is to spread to another area, there’s another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.

Compared to the start of the album. Where the first monologue now the AI understands what the human race is has nothing for contempt for it and its many flaws.

To conclude, the album as a concept could be viewed as a surrealist look at reality with recent events. And also, as a futuristic warning about the nature of a sentient AI. Even without singing for the most part, the depth of the music and the messages are deep and hard hitting. What an experience. I loved every second of it.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Ashley Thompson

How Do We Want To Live? will be out tomorrow via InsideOut Music.


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