Music

Modular techno from outer space: introducing Land Systems

Land Systems is the moniker of Nathan Moas, a Sydney musician crafting both exceptionally heavy and exceptionally fragile electronic music on a modular synth setup.

Moas has been releasing music since 2018 but broke some local ground with When My Feet Come Down to Walk on Earth, an EP he dropped in August. We spoke to the artist to find out more about his journey with synthesis, and why he composes a little ambient music on the side.

land systems music sydney modular synthesizer happy mag

Introducing Land Systems, one of the few artists tackling modular synthesis in the Australian dance music landscape.

“My first introduction to modular synthesizers was seeing one used in I’lls’ Let Me Have Just One live video back in 2015. It was such a mysterious-looking electrical box, it was bright yellow and had a tangle of wires hanging out of it. I immediately wanted to know more!”

“I got sucked into it pretty quickly due to the customisable nature of it, but thankfully I’ve relaxed on the impulse to collect heaps of modules – I now just try to use what I’ve already got! It’s bags of fun to experiment with.”

It’s easy to hear that endless well of customisation in Land Systems’ music, the songs standing as intricate, layered, and ever-evolving. Alongside the harder hitting tracks, Moas also dips his toe into the world of ambient.

Following on the heels of artists such as Aphex Twin or Jon Hopkins, who both compound their heaving dance catalogues with orchestral or ambient releases, this side of Land Systems has a two-fold purpose. The abstract nature of it is attractive to Moas, and often softer music comes with a decreased feeling of pressure.

“To be honest I keep those two sides of my music-making quite separate. Sometimes I’m more inclined to work on ambient music because it’s so relaxed, there are no rules or frameworks you have to abide by – it can be vague, cloudy and inexact. It’s a very calming process. I can just make music without worrying about whether people will listen to it, dance to it, play it on the radio, etc. It feels like my own personal world in which I can do anything.”

“And then I make dance music because of how much fun live dance shows are. What can I say – I love all of the energy and hype, plus dancing is just so much fun!”

For a taste of that “energy and hype”, look no further than the most recent Land Systems EP. When My Feet Come Down to Walk on Earth is wall-to-wall with thumping percussion and airy builds that evoke the euphoria of early ’90s rave tracks – and you can bet they smack live.

“When My Feet Come Down to Walk on Earth was written at a time when I was starting to have more control over my thought processes and becoming more engaged with reality. I like to imagine that when I was younger I was ‘up in the clouds’ and quite far away from my own life – whereas the time around when I was writing this EP was ‘when my feet came down to walk on earth’. If that makes any sense!”

“I originally wrote ten tracks for it but I ended up just picking out a few of my favourites. Perhaps I’ll release the B-sides at some point!”

Although Land Systems is still a project in its early stages, there’s all the promise of a next-level live electronic act here. Moreover, the Australian scene is slightly lacking on that front right now (though not completely deficient, hello Rebel Yell, Buzz Kull and Planète).

As for what’s next, Moas was clear he’s not slowing down anytime soon.

“I’m currently working on a couple of remixes as well as a track for a modular synthesizer compilation. A new ambient album is also in the works!”

 

 

Catch Land Systems at Happy Mag’s 5th Birthday, going down November 22nd at Kings Cros Hotel in Sydney. Details here.

When My Feel Come Down Down to Walk on Earth is out now.