Daniel Land is a London, UK-based singer/songwriter, who has developed a reputation for blending shoegaze and dream pop with deeply confessional songwriting both as the frontman and primary songwriter of Daniel Land and The Modern Painters, as a solo artist, who has released several critically applauded solo albums, including his solo debut Love Songs For The Chemical Generation, which many critics have considered a canonical shoegazer album. Land has also developed a reputation for being incredibly prolific as he releases atmospheric landscape music with his riverrun project, as well as collaborating with renowned, German electronic music artist and producer Ulrich Schnauss as a member of dream-pop supergroup Engineers on their third album In Praise of More, as well as with The Steals, Bing Satellites and Ask For Joy.
Written and recorded in a number of locations including London, Manchester, Devon, California and New York City and featuring over 20 musicians including members of Daniel Land and The Modern Painters, the backing bands of Andrew Saks (a.k.a. ASAKS) and Gerald Hopes (a.k.a Little Nova Sound), members of Land’s current band and ambient composer Bing Satellites, who co-wrote some material, co-produced and played several instruments on the record, Land’s forthcoming sophomore full-length solo album In Love With a Ghost may arguably be one of the more complex and textured efforts he has released.
Interestingly enough, the album’s material was written right after his longest running project Daniel Land and The Modern Painters had broken up, and in a period in which he had been forced to consider giving up music about halfway during the recording of the album, when he had suffered a number of health issues including a painful and chronic inner-ear infection that left him prone to bouts of extreme dizziness and partially deaf for over a year. And as a result, among several things Land had been thinking of during tat period influenced the tone and feel of his forthcoming album’s material. As Land explains in press notes: “This is an album about cities. It is an album about reinvention, and starting your life over. It is an album about growing up, finding love, and settling down. And to a lesser degree, it is about the damage that can be done to a person, or a family, by falling in love with the wrong person. With ‘In Love With A Ghost’, I came full circle for a while by incorporating a whole bunch of influences that pre-date my love of dream-pop and shoegaze. I really wanted to make a colourful, widescreen, detailed record. When I started the album, I didn’t have a live band, and most of the tracks were written on the piano, for my own amusement, rather than for a group with three guitarists.
“Unable to make music, and living in a new city made me feel, at times, powerfully depressed. This became a crisis of confidence that went very deep and it did seem, for a while, that I would never find my way back to making music again, ” Land continues. “Finishing the album was a process that involved re-evaluating my life and overhauling my relationship to music, and coming out of the other side more healthy, more humble, and more grateful. It’s good to be back again.”
And while possessing a mournful air about what was and what can never, be the album’s first single “New York Boogie-Woogie” manages to also simultaneously possess a hopefulness towards the future — with the recognition that things constantly change, and that you better respect and cherish that. Sonically speaking, Land’s plaintive falsetto vocals are paired with dramatic piano chords, propulsive drumming, shimmering guitar chords and a gorgeous sax solo to craft a song that possesses a cinematic yet moody sweep.
The recently released music video for the song features black and white footage in and around New York that captures a sense of endless wonder and possibility and profound loneliness.