Posts Tagged With: post rock

The Glowing Man – Swans

When Swans reformed in 2010 with the release of ‘My Father Will Guide Me up A Rope To The Sky’, people perhaps may not have predicted that the band would ultimately start releasing some of the most defining albums of their career. Having released two phenomenal double-albums ‘The Seer’ and ‘To Be Kind’, Swans return with their latest tour-de-force, ‘The Glowing Man’. The new album follows on much from what its predecessors established, offering gargantuan slabs of experimental post-rock that are as cryptic and enigmatic as ever. Once again, this is another challenging album experience that certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, and one that is rather difficult to really put into words.

‘The Glowing Man’ continues much in the same vein as both ‘The Seer’ and ‘To Be Kind’, with each musician pushing along through noisy experimental tracks where everything is unrelenting yet brilliant. It’s in the uncompromising style that only Swans seem to have that we find what makes the music great. This is truly a head-space only they can create for us, with the result being something confusing yet powerful. Much of the album feels like a true companion piece to its predecessor ‘To Be Kind’, perhaps mostly in part to the similar motifs running throughout both albums (and perpetuated by the inclusion of the ‘Bring The Sun’ intro used on the previous album), but all together much tighter than they’ve ever managed. It all works well in providing a bookend to what is perhaps one of Swans’ most phenomenal and powerful musical chapters.

As with many albums by Swans, there is that incredible experimental element that comes with Swans’ music that makes it all a challenging listen. Combining elements of drone into their unique sound, we’re presented with something that occupies the foreground, whilst refusing to let the listener go. It’s all together a somewhat intimidating experience, and one that is truly difficult to put into words. It’s perhaps in this challenging yet unique style that only Swans have that we find the main focal point of many of their bodies of work, what it is that drives the albums along and gives it that quality that is so enthralling.

It seemed like Swans were at the height of their creativity with the release of 2012’s ‘The Seer’, and to have followed that album up with phenomenal ‘To Be Kind’ was an impressive feat. It now seems though that Swans have repeated this once again, with ‘The Glowing Man’ being a perfect follow up to its predecessor. Although there’s a great varience in Swans music, from their early no-wave years to their dark alternative rock years in the 90s, it seems that this current wave of music is what they were always meant to do, with it being perhaps some of the best music Swans have ever released. Whether or not ‘The Glowing Man’ signals the end of this current era of Swans or not, it’s certainly great to have seen it all in action.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

Selected Songs:

  • Cloud of Forgetting
  • The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black
  • Frankie M
  • The Glowing Man

Swans’ 14th studio album ‘The Glowing Man’ is out now.

Advertisements
Categories: 5-Star Reviews, Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Atomic – Mogwai

Following the announcement that guitarist John Cummings would be leaving the band, the future of Mogwai’s music seemed a little uncertain, mostly in part to the phenomenal input of Cummings himself, who helped shaped so much of Mogwai’s music. However, any fear can easily be laid to rest, as the release of ‘Atomic’, a soundtrack by Mogwai, shows incredible promise from the Scottish post-rock band. The soundtrack, conceived for film-maker Mark Cousin’s documentary Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise, works well in context of the source material, but remarkably so, works incredibly well as simply another Mogwai album, and one that really stands out in their already eclectic discography.

Many of Mogwai’s releases seem to introduce new elements here and there, showcasing the band as one willing to expand their own capabilities. ‘Atomic’ is no different in that respect, with the album featuring some of the band’s most interesting work to date. Everything perfectly encapsulates the themes of atomic war, with some tracks capturing the essence of nature’s beauty, and others the sheer terror and panic of nuclear war. Though at times, a somewhat challenging listen, there’s many moments that stand out brilliantly, sounding just about as strong as any particular fan favourite.

Certain tracks on ‘Atomic’ may be raise an eyebrow or two on some Mogwai fans, notably on tracks where the standard notions of post-rock seem to have been thrown out of the window. It’s perhaps here though we see the real strengths of Mogwai as a band, who refuse to let the standard notions of the post-rock genre restrict them from interpreting the source material in their own way. The result is an album that perhaps pushes the boundaries of post-rock just that little bit further, showing us that there is more that can be done with the genre if one is only willing.

It’s one to make a soundtrack that perfectly fits the film it’s supporting, but it’s something else entirely when that soundtrack also works well as its own stand-alone release. There’s a phenomenal power and energy to ‘Atomic’, which shows Mogwai still hitting those amazing strides that only they can do. Whilst the absence of John Cummings is somewhat disappointing, it seems that the rest of the band-members have all pushed themselves even further, showing they’re still capable of making some of the most incredible instrumental rock music in this day and age.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Ether
  • SCRAM
  • Are You A Dancer?
  • Tzar

Mogwai’s latest album ‘Atomic’ is out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resonance – Slowrun

First posted on echoesanddust.com.

Finnish post-rockers Slowrun finally showcase the follow-up album to their 2013 effort of ‘Prologue’ with their latest slab of instrumental rock ‘Resonance’. Once again, Slowrun delve deep into their generally pleasing and enjoyable aesthetics of post-rock music, offering a familiar and approachable sound that rises to the surface, showcasing its strengths in a subtle manner. The new album sees the band improving upon the promising sound of their debut effort, utilizing their talents and skills and honing in on everything, in the creation of a strong and enjoyable post-rock experience. At times, ‘Resonance’ may falter in some of the same ways that ‘Prologue’ did, though much of the work feels like a generous improvement.

On ‘Resonance’, Slowrun dive deep into their understanding of the post-rock genre, relying hard on some of its formalities, but utilizing them brilliantly in ways we may have forgot. It is perhaps arguable that at times, Slowrun method of post-rock relies a lot on its existing concepts, but its in the natural talent the band possess, in their ability to interpret and showcase the genre, that makes ‘Resonance’ such a strong and enjoyable album experience.  Certain tracks do oddly resonate brilliantly with the listener, with the band balancing some gentle and sparse moments of beauty with more sudden yet still subtle walls of noise.

Like certain parts of ‘Prologue’, there are a few of the same little problems on ‘Resonance’, though perhaps less frequent on the whole album itself. Certain sections may come across as feeling a little bit like Slowrun simply presenting what everyone would come to expect from a band working within the genre. This may be felt by the more cynical fans of the genre, but those who simply enjoy things for what they are will find a lot to enjoy on ‘Resonance’, which feels like a band really trying their all to create something they can be proud of, which they should most definitely be in this case.

Overall, ‘Resonance’ feels like a very strong effort from a band who seem to be taking great strides in their understanding of what they’re achieving. Slowrun have certainly advanced comfortably from their first effort, hardly overshadowing ‘Prologue’ to the point of irrelevancy, but simply building up upon the groundwork they originally set down. ‘Resonance’ feels like a step in the right direction, like a band starting to really work out their identity and using their strengths and talents to achieve that goal. There’s definitely something work keeping an eye on here, and something we hope will continue to grow over the years.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Blinding Light
  • Introspection
  • First Hour
  • The Way

Slowrun’s second album ‘Resonance’ is out now and is available here. 

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helios | Erebus – God Is An Astronaut

Irish post-rockers follow on from their previous studio album ‘Origins’ with the release of their heavier and somewhat more ambitious album of ‘Helios | Erebus’. The new album sees the band continuing their own vein of post-rock music, featuring their distinct sounding guitar melodies accompanied by an array of varying instrumental styles and techniques, giving their sound one that stands out a little bit more in the genre than most do. For the most part, ‘Helios | Erebus’ is a rather strong album from the band, and one that certainly stands out nicely amongst their discography.

‘Helios | Erebus’ has the makings of a strong post-rock album within its inner-workings. Many of the tracks offer a somewhat aggressive and almost threatening style of music, utilizing elements of math-rock from time to time, though hardly restricting itself to this specific genre. There are of course some very distinct moments of beauty and solace amongst the almost chaotic mix. God Is An Astronaut manage to show restraint from time to time, not allowing every single track to indulge itself into wild-ish heavy moments. All in all it’s a rather strong effort that comes across as a very strong album from the band, and one that is not so difficult to access, both for fans of the band and fans of the genre.

Whilst the new album from God Is An Astronaut sports many strengths, with a few tracks coming across as some of their best material thus far, it does seem that at a few points the album lacks in strength, and instead becomes a little bit dull and repetitive. A few tracks on the album seem to sound a little too similar to the rest of the album, not really showing anything new from the band, but instead showing a reliance on their old methods and techniques. Whilst far from their weakest material, it does give the album its negative traits, sounding disappointing amongst a rather strong album.

Though not every track lives up to the level the album itself presents, there’s still a strong standard of material being presented by God Is An Astronaut, who are continuing to maintain a reputation as being one of the strongest bands working today in the post-rock genre. There’s many strong qualities to the bands music, and much of ‘Helios | Erebus’ continues that standard, whilst on a few occasions showing a little bit more to be offered from the band. It’s arguable that the bands’ new album might not be their absolute best album thus far, though it is amongst the strongest.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Pig Powder
  • Vetus Memoria
  • Helios Erebus
  • Centralia

God Is An Astronaut’s latest album ‘Helios | Erebus’ is out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Three years after the release of the very surprising and phenomenal album ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend’, Canadian instrumental-rock group Godspeed You! Black Emperor offer up their latest album release ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’. The new album sees Godspeed You! Black Emperor reworking their highly impressive 40-minute track known as ‘Behemoth’ into one cohesive and structured album experience, with the performance being divided up into four separate tracks. There’s an incredible energy to ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’, one that sees energy being channelled in some rather unusual though incredibly pleasing ways. At times, the new album is a little polarizing, though this is perhaps a piece of work showcasing the band at arguably their most creative.

Certain elements of ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ are to be expected of course, mostly in the opening of the album which offers incredible guitars set to impressive violins and backed up by a slow marching drum beat. Elements of the music feel incredibly familiar to previous Godspeed You! Black Emperor material, though presented and fashioned up in a wholly different way. Everything feels incredibly bombastic and large, utilizing the talents of many musicians to create a glorious musical experience, before stripping everything away until driving tones push forward at a slow pace, offering up something different, slightly inaccessible and utterly engrossing. It’s mostly an odd album experience, though one that is cohesive in presenting a full album experience where everything works well with each other.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor have certainly pushed out an interesting and exciting album effort on ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’, though there’s a few polarizing elements which could alienate a few fans of the band. Previous albums from the band have certainly explored areas of drone music, though it seems it’s been pushed forward to a much greater extent on the bands’ new album, resulting in an album experience that greatly differs from what one would normally expect from the band. It is perhaps off putting to certain fans, though there’s still something phenomenal and interesting being presented by the band, who showcase even more creative ideas and techniques.

‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ is certainly an enjoyable album effort, though it perhaps fails to really reach the same heights as some of its predecessors. With that being said though, it is hardly an album to be dismissed entirely, as it is representative of new styles and new techniques from the band, who flesh out experimental concepts into full formed ideas, all coming together wonderfully in the form of an impressive album experience. Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s wonderful style of instrumental rock might never follow any distinct style between albums, but there is always something amazing being presented by the band.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Peasantry or ‘Light Inside of Light
  • Lamb’s Breath
  • Piss Crowns Are Trebled

Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s fifth studio album ”Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress” is out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Svin – Svin

Svin pave the way for their experimental music notions with the release of their self-titled third album. The new album ‘Svin’ sees the band offering up a phenomenal and unrelenting barrage of psychedelic experimental music, bordering the lines of post-rock and experimental jazz. There’s an incredible energy to ‘Svin’, one that showcases great talent, as well as a real creative streak in producing something just that little bit different. At times, ‘Svin’ might come across as a little aggressive, but it is one that justifies its aggressive elements through brilliant showmanship and creative elements.

On their latest album effort, Svin demonstrate incredible artistic promise. ‘Svin’ offers an Odyssey of musical movements and techniques, showcasing a great range of different styles, all comprised together into one coherent structure.  ‘Svin’ offers up a varied style of instrumental tracks, and whilst from an outsider’s perspective they might seem to be clashing techniques, Svin manage to work everything together into one album experience, where everything seems to warrant its place on the album, whilst keeping everything interesting and exciting. It’s an exciting and exhilarating musical journey, and one that shows the best techniques in experimental notions. There’s a nice variety of heavy tracks partnered with more slower and downbeat ones, keeping the whole album experience refreshing and interesting.

Svin’s option to fuse together different genres works incredibly well, though combined with its rather experimental techniques, it makes the album experience one that is somewhat inaccessible, and perhaps off-putting to die-hard fans of the varying individual genres. Fans of post-rock or math-rock might find the more jazz-orientated tracks on the album somewhat unappealing, or even vice-versa. Some might be put off by Svin’s juggling of various genres, though for the most part it works incredibly well on their self-titled release, showing some incredible creative talent. The only real problem with ‘Svin’ is that it’s an incredibly short album, and one that seems to end just as it gathers up enough momentum.

Svin demonstrate wonderful musical technique on their latest effort, one that excites and sometimes confounds in oddly enjoyable ways. The record is perhaps a little too short at times, though it does result in an album experience where there’s absolutely no dead weight, and each track contributes wonderfully to the album itself. It’s a strong effort that really showcases Svin’s talents as a band, showing their ability to both conform to genre’s, and shape and bend their conventions at will, bringing out new and exciting ideas that haven’t really been explored before by other bands.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Maharaja
  • Alt
  • Fuck John
  • Fede Piger

Svin’s latest album ‘Svin’ is out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kirtland – Glacier

Post-rock band Glacier offer up two new releases, ‘Kirtland’, and an accompanying release ‘Black Beacon’. Across the two releases, Glacier showcase a phenomenal post-rock style, demonstrating great creative ideas in an interesting and diverse way. The first of the two albums ‘Kirtland’ showcases a rather heavy and aggressive style across two rather long yet satisfying tracks. Glacier’s style comes across as rather raw and rough at times, though the standard seems to be on the same level as many notable bands within the genre. ‘Kirtland’ is perhaps a little rough around the edges, though it pushes forward a great aggressive style in a remarkably confident fashion.

Glacier’s own slant on the post-rock style offers up some incredible creative ideas, fashioned together using the genre’s format, and presented with great confidence. Glacier offer up two rather lengthy compositions, both of which allow the band to really explore the genre and draw out some great ideas. There’s a great range of dynamics within the songs, ranging from slower moments that build up a base for the song, before reaching out into loud noisy crashes of post-rock aesthetics. It’s indulgent to avid listeners of the genre, who might go on to find Glacier’s slant on the genre to be one that offers incredible range and scope.

Glacier’s ‘Kirtland’ certainly offers an enjoyable post-rock experience, and whilst Glacier inject incredible amounts of confidence and creativity to most of their songs, other parts of the tracks seem don’t seem to come through so strongly. Certain sections of the track seem to present Glacier following on typical post-rock formats, without adding much more to the method except for their own enthusiasm (which does work on some level). Considering the great strengths Glacier have as a post-rock band, strengths which come through in many sections, it seems a shame that the band fall into the same trap many other post-rock bands do, which sadly results in a few sections on ‘Kirtland’ that is typical post-rock and nothing more.

Certain elements of ‘Kirtland’ present a rather safe bet from Glacier as a post-rock band, and whilst this is true to an extent, there’s also many other elements of the album that express great strength and great talent. What ‘Kirtland’ has that other post-rock albums might not is an incredible raw passion that is rare to find, as well as an incredible enthusiasm to create and present something great. ‘Kirtland’ is typical, but it is also passionate, and an incredible album effort in its own right. Perhaps Glacier could benefit from really drawing out their own ideas and concepts from the post-rock genre in the future, but for now they’re clearly on a good path.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • You’ll Love It Here Forever
  • Kirtland

Glacier’s latest albums ‘Kirtland’ & ‘Black Beacon’ are out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Beacon – Glacier

Post-rock band Glacier offer up two new releases for the new year, the first being their main studio album ‘Kirtland’, and the second being an additional release ‘Black Beacon’. The new albums see Glacier really exploring the post-rock genre, drawing influence from a number of different bands, many of which explore very different sides to the genre. ‘Black Beacon’ offers up a rather grand post-rock experience, taking very strong influence from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It’s easy to see why Glacier have opted to release ‘Black Beacon’ separately from ‘Kirtland’, though elements of the track do make it a weaker release by comparison.

On ‘Black Beacon’, Glacier seem to tread different ground than what is presented on ‘Kirtland’. ‘Black Beacon’ offers up a dark unsettling experience, showcasing great natural talent from the band. There’s a raw style being presented by the band, though this seems to work better for the band, expressing great passion for their own music. There’s natural raw talent from Glacier, which is expressed effortlessly on ‘Black Beacon’. There’s a lot to enjoy on ‘Black Beacon’, which certainly demonstrates its own right as a separate recording rather effortlessly, though elements of the track do raise some questions.

There’s many strengths to Glacier’s music, which is easy to see with each and every release the band pushes out. Whilst ‘Black Beacon’ does offer something interesting and enjoyable, it seems that the recording is perhaps a little too similar to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s ‘East Hasting’ at times, particularly with the bass guitars. Certain sections and motifs in the track seem uncannily similar to the track, making the creative strengths of Glacier a little lost at times. Where Glacier’s own elements come through on the track, we see why the band have opted to showcase the recording, though there’s clear evidence why it was omitted from ‘Kirtland’.

‘Black Beacon’ comes across as heavily flawed in places, though elements of the track come across as highly enjoyable in their own right, pushing forward the creative talents of the hard-working band. ‘Black Beacon’ works well through its raw and edgier sound, whilst still sounding highly professional. The recording benefits from its own touches, though is let down by elements that lack originality. Even so, Glacier seem to be on the right path when it comes to their own branch of post-rock music, with both ‘Kirtland’ and ‘Black Beacon’ both demonstrating their strengths nicely.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Black Beacon

Glacier’s latest albums ‘Black Beacon’ & ‘Kirtland’ are out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loud To Sleep – Jet Plane

Russian Post-Rock band Jet Plane pave the way for their latest album effort ‘Loud To Sleep’. The new album sees the Russian post-rockers taking the typical aesthetics and formats of the post-rock genre, and dressing it all up nicely in a very natural sounding way that suggests great strengths of the band. Jet Plane’s own slant on the genre offers up an oddly comfortably sounding mixture of heavy aggressive post-rock styles with more gentler approaches. Much of the album benefits from the addition of arguably unusual instruments, who don’t dominate the tracks with their unusual sounds, but instead elevate the tracks to greater status.

‘Loud To Sleep’ showcases many strengths of Jet Plane, who seem to have an incredible amount to offer the genre. There seems to be much more at play here rather than typical elements that often make up the genre. Electric guitars, bass and drums make up the crux of the tracks, as one would expect within the genre, but even underneath these rather typical layers is something much more at play. There’s an almost experimental slant on the genre, which manages to incorporate Bagpipes into a number of the tracks, in an incredible natural and comfortable way. There’s a nice craft in each of the tracks, which diversify themselves with different instruments, and different levels of intensity.

As far as Post-Rock albums go, Jet Plane’s ‘Loud To Sleep’ seems to be one of the more enjoyable efforts of this year, which manages to explore different creative ideas without a loss to the music itself. Towards the end of the album, it’s arguable that things start to get a little sluggish, where the creative elements feel a little less focused. Each and every track seems to offer something great towards the overall album experience, but to the end it seems a little less is being offered, suggesting the closing tracks are perhaps not as strong as their earlier counterparts.

With all the efforts Jet Plane have gone through to make not just a strong post-rock album, but an interesting one at that, it seems that the band have resulted in their most enjoyable album thus far. There’s a great range of ideas and notions being demonstrated by the band, many of which come through perfectly, whilst others come out slowly through repeated listening. With the post-rock genre starting to become a little stale in recent years, it’s certainly enjoyable to see bands exploring not just their own capabilities, but the genre’s capabilities as well, and drawing out some new ideas here and there. There’s a lot to enjoy from Jet Plane, who certainly have a strong understanding of what they’re doing, and how they can do it.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Laurel Trees/21 Guns
  • Loud To Sleep
  • Snow Rock
  • Sundog

Jet Plane’s latest album ‘Loud To Sleep’ is out now.

Categories: Albums, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.