The Land of the Snow is a new one-man-band from Zürich, Switzerland. It is the personal project of the experimental guitarist Joel Gilardini, who started them in 2010 under the name The Gila Monster. After a short break and inner search, Joel returned in 2011 renaming his project into The Land of the Snow. In April 2012 he released the 4-track digital EP “The Land of the Snow” and he also started collaborating with the Italian visual artist Petulia Mattioli. One year later, in June 2013 he released his debut “physical” EP “Belonging to Nowhere” via the Swiss jazz label Altrisuoni. Then, in December 2013 he released digitally a collection of live recordings entitled “Blizzards from the Edge of a Stage“.
Joel Gilardini was intrigued by the idea to be on stage alone just with an electric guitar, exactly like a Dj or an electronic musician does. That idea made him start this instrumental project, using only guitars and drum programming, all performed by Joel himself. In “Belonging to Nowhere” though, there are real guest drums played by Daniel Schuchter, something that helps it sound much more natural. This EP consists only of 3 new songs “Awakening the Aurora“, “A Compassionate Awareness” and “Forsaking the Nerves” with a total album duration less than 13 minutes! Luckily the CD includes also the 2 wonderful video-clips by Petulia Mattioli for the songs “Sacred Diagrams” and “Prayers to a Goddess” taken from the first self-titled EP. You can watch them both below. The Land of the Snow’s music has clearly a jazz experimental approach. Joel is an excellent guitarist who manages to create a very warm and rich sound just with his guitars and drums, covering the absence of all other instruments and vocals. There is a strange quality in his music that sounds improvised and at the same time math ruled! His compositions have quite complex structures with various musical influences, but the overall result is balanced and pleasant to my ears. Unlike other solo guitarists, he doesn’t try to impress with fast pointless solos; he keeps experimenting with the countless soundscapes his guitars can produce, creating very interesting and atmospheric music.
The Land of the Snow is not a band for the masses, but if you are interested in instrumental jazz-core metal experiments, you better giver it a listen. “Belonging to Nowhere” is the most complete work of Joel, with a very good sound and production. Except for The Land of the Snow, he is also in Lost in the Snow (experimental / ambient / doom) and Mulo Muto (experimental / noise / doom metal). “Belonging to Nowhere” is released by Altrisuoni in a beautiful 4-panel digipak edition. Artwork is by Karyn Crisis, the singer of Ephel Duath, while the graphic layout is by Michelle Aimee. You can visit the band’s official profiles for more details and listen to its complete discography.
Prayers to a Goddess: