Album Review: Field Recordings – The Echelon Effect

The Echelon Effect

Band: The Echelon Effect

Title: Field Recordings

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Instrumental, Post-Rock, Soundscape

URL: http://theecheloneffect.bandcamp.com/album/field-recordings

Band introduction: The Echelon Effect came to life amid the long winter nights of February 2009, born from a burning desire to fall in love with music again. It started with a laptop and an idea: write a track, and make it huge. But one track became four, an EP that needed an audience. The tracks were posted on Myspace. And people began to listen – Taken from the artist’s Facebook page

1st Listen: I think of a lullaby as the first piano notes of “Intro” announce themselves. From the description of the album, “This album is about flying”, I know I am in for a relaxing, uplifting time. During the 2nd track I feel one of those tear jerks that make a piece of music that much more rewarding. I hold it back; I’m a man (and at work!). There is nothing wrong with being moved by music. Probably my most emotional music experience was Sigur Ros’s ( ), and this album, so far, has that feel about it.

After that the album becomes even more subdued and starts to make use of the field recordings; usually sat at the back of the mix while piano and synths wash over them. Drums come into play on occasion, but don’t overpower the laidback feel of the tracks.

If you like ambience and feeling relaxed you should have a listen to this.

2nd Listen: “Intro” is exactly that. Piano and reverse signal effects slowly fade in over a minute and track 2 comes in. “Tracking Aeroplanes” reminds my of Sigur Ros’s “Untitled 3” in the way it progresses. It relies heavily on a simple piano arpeggio and sound develops underneath it. A second instrument, Glockenspiel possibly, adds layers; as does a guitar. The sounds beneath the track slowly rise to the top of the mix and the swirling synth really makes this track peak. It is a truly uplifting emotional experience; the definition of being simple, but highly effective.

“Antenna” is all about heavily delayed piano notes with a shimmering synth part which is mysterious and also there is a certain darkness to this track. It’s all over too soon though, but fades into “Call to Ground”. A layer of noise builds and that piano creeps out from underneath. A field recording sits in with the track; sounds of engines, I think, growl slowly in the background as the synth pushes chords out over the top. It’s like flying, I guess. Not in the comparably safe environment of a plane, but out in the sky on your own, floating. The drums come in and send a shiver down my whole body. This is amazing.

That last track is going to take some beating. “Outer Marker” is set outside on a summer morning as the sun rises. Birds chirp and drums bring the world to life. A brightly played arpeggio drives the track along until a marching beat forces its way in and the track finishes on a darker note.

Field Recordings finishes with “The Brightest Star You See Is My Wingtip Over Your Home”. It’s more of the same pianos and synths, with optimistic overtones; another shiver runs down my spine. It is time to land…

3rd Listen: I was really looking forward to listening to this again. So much so I neglected to plug in my headphones and treated my whole office to this amazing piece of work. Well, the first couple of minutes anyway, somebody came to my desk and pointed out that my headphones weren’t plugged in. I just thought they were broken so I kept increasing the volume!

I plugged them in and started again. Not much else I can say about this album. It’s getting better with every listen as I pick out the subtle nuances. Once again my only negative is that I cannot get a physical copy of this. I should start to embrace the digital age, I guess.

Conclusion: An incredible piece of work that is powerful and moving. You are missing out if you do not give this a listen. If you do give it a listen I can almost guarantee it won’t be the last time.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Good
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The January Round-up

So here we are, the end of Tenacious Listening’s first month. I have managed to give 8 albums a review. I hope to increase that over time as I now have some reviews in progress and a long list of albums to listen to. At the end of the month I will highlight the best and worst albums of the month. So without further ado…

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Four albums got the highest score I could give this month. Out of those four I think it has to be Tales of Murder and Dust that takes the award. Especially as you can get the album on vinyl, despite my review saying it is a shame you cannot get it on a physical medium. Their trance inducing, droning tracks come together to make a mystifying album steeped in noise and psychedelia. Well worth a listen.

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE MONTH

Without a doubt it has to be Psychojets debut. Not a catastrophe of an album, but just not engaging enough to make me want to listen to it again. On a plus side, the band have potential to put out something truly great in the future. I think they just need a bit more song writing experience.

 

As this blog is essentially a work in progress, I am looking at making changes to improve it over time. After one month I think that the basic rating system may be too basic as 50% of the reviews have given top marks. I’ll be monitoring over the coming months and will make a change if necessary.

 

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Album Review: Kyōto/Nara – Orbit Over Luna

Orbit Over Luna

Band: Orbit Over Luna

Title: Kyōto/Nara

Genre: Ambient, folk, downtempo, instrumental, post-rock

URL: http://music.orbitoverluna.com/album/ky-to-nara

Band introduction: Orbit over Luna is the musical alias of Shannon Penner, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound engineer and animator in Toronto, Ontario. – Taken from the artist’s Facebook page.

1st Listen: Mainly focused around acoustic and electric guitars, simple percussion, and field recordings\samples; the music is beautiful and unassuming. The first two tracks are typically Japanese, to a Westerner’s ears anyway, and the influences continue throughout the E.P. Perfect for winding down at the end of the day, the whole album maintains a mid tempo feel and I’m looking forward to hearing the next E.P. in the series.

2nd Listen: “Fushimi Inari” is a beautiful piece of ambient music. Percussion slowly fades in under the wash of synth and then a simple acoustic part gives the track structure. It really takes me to a relaxing oasis in a Japanese garden and is a great start to the album.

“10000 Torii Gates” is marginally more upbeat, with bird like sounds over that familiar acoustic sound and softly played drums, bongos?

“Lost in the midst of all this beauty” is an apt title for the next track; sitting in the middle of this album. Very similarly it fades in with synths and then percussion and guitar. This sort of music does not need to break any boundaries; each song is more like a moment of Shannon Penner’s travelling experience. Moments are never long enough to change and the fact these tracks progress little is perfect to portray that feeling.

“Great Budda & the Sacred Deer” begins with slowly strummed guitar and continues that way! Its’ electric guitar counterpart strengthens the harmony and then the track finishes as if it was never there in the first place.

Ponotochō: The Floating World is more of the same; lush synths and acoustic guitars. It does get into a bit of a groove half way through and different layers of sound and different instruments make their way into the mix. The music cuts out and we are in what could be departure lounge of an airport.

For an album where the tracks are very simple and make little in the way of progression, five tracks is the perfect length and I applaud Orbit Over Luna for making the decision to put this project into smaller EPs. Next time I listen will have to be in the evening. I’m at work and that has put me off doing anything else this afternoon!

3rd Listen: Well sod that, I’m sat at work and decided to spin this again! It’s nearly the weekend and things are winding down (and I try to do as little as possible anyway!) What more can I say about this EP? It is five perfect little moments put into music. You don’t need to have been there for the music to put you there. I don’t have a favourite track, I like them all. I think the sparse use of vocals in “Lost in the midst of all this beauty” is my favourite part though. It sounds like that moment when you discover something amazing. I will look forward to the new EPs with baited breath.

Conclusion: An unassuming collection of music that soothes, relaxes, and take you to places you may not have been before. Don’t expect boundaries to be broken, just sit back and take it all in.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Good
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Album Review: Echoes of Sound – Luna Kiss

Luna Kiss

Band: Luna Kiss

Title: Echoes of Sound

Genre: Progressive rock

URL: http://www.luna.kiss.co.uk

Band introduction: Luna Kiss are a four piece progressive rock band from Coventry City, UK. By merging prog with mainstream elements, “building a sound as reminiscent of Pink Floyd as it is Florence and the Machine” – Prog Magazine, Luna Kiss have created there own identity. – Taken from the band’s website

1st Listen: As incredible as they are live, I haven’t owned Luna Kiss’s album until just now. They definitely have their own sound. Classic rock sounds with prog rock time changes, almost jazzy interludes and big choruses with pop-like hooks. They have that all the songs sound the same, all the songs sound different sort of affect on me. In this case that is the sign of a band confident in their abilities and unique enough to do their own thing. Often I see a band and get their album and I am disappointed. I’m not disappointed with this album, but I know they have improved since this was released and I eagerly await the album they are currently working on.

2nd Listen: I’d usually do a track by track review on my second listen. It helps me really listen to each track rather than the album as a whole. However I was driving home from work and the other two albums I had in my car would not play. One day I’ll get around to replacing the player in my car! So I spun this on once again.

That Luna Kiss can be heavy, in a prog rock sort of way, without constantly resorting to power chord riffage is great. The riffs are often arpeggios that weave in and out of the mix with interesting time signatures and use of rests.

The whole album really feels like it’s building up to the last song “Silver Lines” and I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s great that arguably the best song on the album is at the end. To often an album will peak too soon. I’m not yet sure that there are enough outstanding moments before that track to make the journey worthwhile. To completely contradict my last sentence; the music throughout is solid and the arrangement of instruments is exemplary.  Perhaps knowing “Silver Lines” is on it’s way is a tension building up that makes me eager to get to the end of the album rather than enjoy it to its fullest.

3rd Listen: “I” is a wall of increasing waves of sound, bass comes in and then the guitar. Drums start to take their place and the volume increases. This intro track begins the journey and fades out into the second track, “Jealous Fingers”. This starts like an indie rock track and, once the vocals come in, things get smooth as the bass takes the reins. The guitar solo, driven by a wah pedal, is the pinnacle of this track.

“Stop This Behaviour” is a classic rock ballad; all clean arpeggios and melodic lead lines that introduce some overdrive when the solo hits in and brings the song home.

“Silicone Hearts” is all funky verses and big choruses; loud and quite mechanics that even affect the solo which gives the wah a beating and then brings in a beautiful clean tone, only to step it up again.

Once again finishing track with a solo is staring to wear thin, but “Lunacy” changes the dynamics with its delay soaked percussion and synth. It’s does away with a solo, which is welcome as I find a band’s necessity to fill their music with solos even when not called for a bit off putting. A well placed and played solo shows creativity. Chucking a solo in because you feel like it shows someone showing off their chops; I’m not down with that!

“VI” is an instrumental interlude, noise and then delay\reverb soaked chords play background to, what sounds like, a tapped guitar melody. Then some crunchy chords and tremolo picked lines take their place and then leave again; getting quieter and quieter.

“Walking Away From Here” kicks straight in after “VI”,  but soon quietens down to make way for the vocals. The vocal lines get better throughout the album and this track really hit’s the mark. There is a jazzy, soul like feel to the chorus, rather than the louder rock choruses we have been treated to previously. The bass driven breakdown towards the end of the track is really powerful; I really disliked the echo affect placed on the vocals though.

Now we get to the last track “Silver Lines”. This is the track I have been waiting for. A Dire Straights solo eases me into the song until the bass comes in at about 2 minutes. Then the song really starts. The whole track is a slow build up and the Pink Floyd solo is killer. It fits perfectly and you think the track is dropping out, but it comes back, just a touch bigger than before. Then, just like “Comfortably Numb” the solo comes back in again after another brilliant chorus. Drums pound, a piano comes into the mix, and soaring synth chords play us out. Superb!

Conclusion: A great album that just improves with every track. It’s not perfect, but it’s a young band’s debut. Expect big things from Luna Kiss.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Good
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Album Review: Hallucination of Beauty – Tales of Murder and Dust

Tales of murder and dust

 

Band: Tales of Murder and Dust

Title: Hallucination of Beauty

Genre: Alternative, rock, drone, folk rock, neo-psychedelic, noise, post-rock, shoegaze.

URL: http://talesofmurderanddust.bandcamp.com/

Band introduction: Formed in 2007, Aarhus based Tales of Murder and Dust plays a dark, experimental mixture of psychedelic rock and shoe-gaze wrapped in a cinematic sound merging noisy guitars, violin, organ and sitar. – Taken from the band’s Facebook page.

1st Listen: This sounds like a medieval jaunt to the Far East with Hawkwind in tow. Esoteric is the word that immediately springs to mind. It’s the sitar and drumming that really conjures these thoughts.  Simple structures and haunting vocals are the order of the day. I’m still listening to the second track “Hypnotized Narcissist” by this point; “The Disillusion” acted as an extended intro into this track.

By track four I am in a trance. The mid tempo ambling, and almost monotonous singing, has sent me into that place you go where time disappears. When you snap out of it you wonder where the last few hours went; but it has only been a few minutes!

All the tracks are very similar, but have their own like quirks. I think I’ll struggle to do a track by track review, but sometimes that is the beauty of an album.

2nd Listen: “The Disillusion” begins with reversed instruments including a sitar that drones throughout the whole track; building up to track two “Hypnotized Narcissist” where strummed guitar comes in with the sitar. It reminds me of Hawkwind and Blackmore’s Night. The female vocals come in at about two minutes and drone along with the rest of the music. That the lyrics are barely discernable is actually a positive as it stops them from being the full focus, as vocals usually are. Distorted guitar comes in to add yet another texture. This is a very strong track and the longest on the album.

“On My Mind” is more upbeat with more pronounced drums pushing the guitar and sitar along. The female vocals are accompanied by male vocals in much the same style. “Dead Eyes” ambles in much the same way, but with slightly distorted guitar and more of the male vocals.

As said in my previous review the tracks are very similar in feel, but this is not to the detriment of the album. Hallucination of Beauty is an album that comes together regardless of the fact it is definitely split into different songs. “When She Takes A Hold Of You” has less of the sitar and has a gipsy sort of feel to it; quite mystical. It even steps up the pace towards the end, which is a nice break from the similar tempos that hold the album together.

“Desert Flower” moves back to the standard droning tempo, but strummed guitars tightly played drums uplift the song a little. “Silence” uses delayed distorted guitar to bring a little “melody” (used in the lightest term) over the top of the track. “Darlin’ 61” is quite stripped down; acoustic guitars, vocals and a violin adding a little more depth to the arrangement. It’s a great little track to finish off a great album.

3rd Listen: This album works equally as one you can really listen to, or one that you just put on in the background. The reason; it puts you in a trance either way  It’s atmospheric and hypnotising. My favourite track is “Hypnotised Narcissist”, probably because it sets the bar for the rest of the album. As well as Hawkwind and Blackmore’s Night, I am also hearing elements of Jefferson Airplane and The Velvet Underground; giving it that 60’s psychedelic feeling. With more listens the separate tracks give away more of their secrets and start to become their own voice. That is the sign of an album with longevity, I only wish it was available in a physical format; preferably vinyl.

Conclusion: Hallucination of Beauty is a brilliant album that explores the realms of drone and psychedelia to bring a far eastern, medieval sounding, hypnotic collection of songs that will leave you spellbound. An essential listen if any of the adjectives in the last sentence spark your interest.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Good

 

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Album Review: Light – Like A Paperplane

Like A Paperplane Band: Like A Paperplane

Title: Light

Genre: Alternative, instrumental, post-rock

URL: http://likeapaperplane.bandcamp.com/

Band introduction: A aeroplanino of paper and a game, a child thing, a piece of paper that he pretends to be an airplane. However, that piece of paper flies, works with the same conditions of an aircraft true. It is a beautiful metaphor to say that we all have dreams, we would like to be the aircraft true, but sometimes we feel of paper. The point is that if we wish we can also fly us. In 2012 and released our first EP, Light. – A bad translation of the Biography section from the band’s Facebook page.

1st Listen: The first track took me by surprise. I had already made my mind up that Like A Paperplane would be really ambient and chilled out. No, we have got a “rocky” post-rock band using crunchy guitars to play with simple one note melody lines. It’s nice. That’s not a real positive description though. Just…nice. It gets better through out the E.P. though, and I’m looking forward to listening again.

2nd Listen: “#8” Is the first track on this E.P. The intro is a really good example of post-rock at it’s finest. A simple idea built upon until a “main” riff is reached and then worked around for the rest of the track. The two guitars intertwine effortlessly and the rhythm plays the perfect supporting role. It’s a shame about the poor fade out ending. Didn’t have any more ideas guys?! “Light, Now” begins with some classic tremolo picked lines and some keys sit behind the guitars and really give the track a nice relaxing feel until about three minutes in we get a crunchy rhythm guitar that helps the track step up a notch. This is a really typical post rock track, but done right; building up to a crescendo that doesn’t come because the track ends. The next track, “Basement” starts in full “rock out” mode before stepping back to guitar and keys. The drums drive the track along but keep the instruments in check until finally letting them go about 3 minutes into the song. I could hear this track being really powerful live. I think the recording loses a little bit of that power and the track ends disappointingly. It just sort of ends; no promise of what could have been, no final release of tension. “Memories” is a beautiful track to finish the E.P. with, the first half anyway. I love that it stops half way through and brings the instruments back in. I was glad it didn’t bring in a balls out solo that it so easily could have done. The part after that doesn’t feel right, to me, and is the weakest point of the EP. It goes back to the first half’s feel and then sort of ends. If anything, this band needs to work on finishing their tracks better. You can write the best music in the world, but if you can’t finish those ideas you lose some of the power you’ve established in the track. Still, I’m really enjoying this E.P.

3rd Listen: Much like a lot of this style of post-rock, Like A Paperplane are really easy listening. The whole EP is really well put together and on this 3rd listen I’m happy to just sit back and let the music take me. I’ve got to say that “#8” is my favourite track, but it is a close call. I’ve just clicked that they have a really God Is An Astronaut like sound; so if you dig them this is definitely worth 20 minutes of your time. Go and have a listen!

Conclusion: Light is a God is an Astonaut flavoured post-rock EP that bodes well for the band’s future. Well structured and uplifting, with a little more attention to detail in the way the tracks finish, I will be looking forward to hearing more from Like A Paperplane. It is well worth your time.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Good
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Album Review: Leaving My Waiting Room – Sunlight Ascending

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Band: Sunlight Ascending

Title: Leaving My Waiting Room

Genre: Experimental, indie, post-rock, shoegaze

URL: http://sunlight-ascending.bandcamp.com/album/leaving-my-waiting-room

Band introduction: This band doesn’t have any intros or descriptions of their own. The following is taken from a review by http://www.postrockstar.com

“The unsigned 5-piece band, who have played over 200 shows in their 5 or so years together, can be classified as a straight forward post-rock band who have a knack for experimentation in the more ambient or quieter side of the genre while still occasionally dabbling with shoegaze stylings.”

1st Listen: This is post-rock and not particularly original sounding; to start with anyway. After the first couple of tracks I’m treated to some more ambient passages and some tabla like percussion sections. It is post-rock; nothing new there, but Sunlight Ascending have their own sound. Part of the reason I am really drawn in is that I really love how this album has the instruments panned. It gives it a really “live” sound. Spin it with your headphones in to really hear what I mean. This is a great album.

2nd Listen: Intro track “Reductio Ad Absurdum” slowly builds in a typically Explosions In The Sky style beginning that is full of optimism and hope. It then fades and the track ends. It would have been perfect to build into the drum intro of “The Dhanbad Rails”, but alas that was not to be. Perhaps it was too obvious to do that and I’m not thinking out of the box!

This second track is not much to write home about. I like the change of pace about 5 mins in as things get nice and ambient and slowly gain volume. “Vladdie”, the next track, is cool. I love the percussion throughout. It keeps the whole track moving along but without driving it to a crescendo. It’s a shame it doesn’t move on though, it could be another couple of minutes long and I don’t think I’d mind.

“Gleaming Apollo” is ambient and has an almost “light” industrial feel brought through by the percussion. Like “Vladdie”, it doesn’t go anywhere; but it doesn’t really need to. “Multivac” takes up this job. The heaviest track on the album so far it has that feeling of movement but keeps you waiting for the big crescendo to happen. It doesn’t, as such, but still has plenty of great moments. I can imagine this track is a powerhouse live.

Half way through I’m realising that this album is quite lacking in those big, big, moments that post-rock really thrives on. It’s constantly teasing, but rarely delivering. “The Wind Factory” is no different. Fortunately “Picking Up Where We Left Off” finally brings me what I’ve been wanting to hear all album. Overdoing those big moments can kill it, but I don’t think there are enough so far.

“They’re Lonelier On The Outside” uses a ticking clock to great percussive use. It gives the track a glitchy feel throughout. Again it doesn’t really go anywhere when it is begging to do so. I really want “Kalkasha” to be completely epic, but ends up like a poor man’s This Will Destroy You, although the break at about 5:40 is mighty epic and worth the journey through the rest of the song.

“Gamma” is crunchy and bassy. The drums are a standout on this track, they really drive the track. The crescendo disappoints though. Maybe I am too picky!

“Inamovable” is pretty chilled out and paves the way for the title track; which I think is a great end to the album. Punchy, staccato guitar lines that lead into more traditional post-rock melodies and some really dynamic drumming that keeps the rhythm section fresh. This track really carries itself as one of the highlights of the album. Contradictorily this track doesn’t call for a “big” moment and I love every moment.

3rd Listen: There are some really great moments in this album, but it isn’t cohesive enough. I really like parts, but sometimes I feel that the band could have pushed just a little harder to make something brilliant. I haven’t listened to any of their previous work, so I don’t know how they have progressed as a band; but after such a great start my opinion has changed and I really doubt that I’ll listen to this again. Such a shame.

Conclusion: This album displays a lot of talent and has some brilliant moments, but it just doesn’t deliver across the board. I would recommend listening to it and I think a lot of people will overlook my nitpicking and find something great.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Indifferent
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Album Review: As our floodlights give way to dawn – Echotide

Image

Band: Echotide

Title: as our floodlights gave way to dawn

Genre: Rock, Cinematic, Experimental, Instrumental, Post-Rock

URL: http://echotide.bandcamp.com/

Band introduction: Capable of bringing rooms to a standstill, moving from vastly atmospheric and minimalist to symphonic and confronting, Echotide’s kaleidoscopic immersive wall of sound is an instrumental exploration of post, psychedelic and progressive rock. – Taken from the band’s Bandcamp page.

1st Listen: The band’s first track “Of Addictions” builds over dainty piano work that lulls me into a false sense of security as it builds and builds, only to hit me with a barrage of metallic chords. It effortlessly transforms into an ambient soundscape that calms the mind after the previous heaviness and, before you know it, the next track is well on its way. The band lives up to their name as the tracks ebb and flow throughout their duration, like the tide, crescendos build and fade away; sometimes they come on hard, mostly they tease and disappear before I have noticed they have gone.

2nd Listen: Tracks that build from almost nothing to big crashing sounds are the reason I listen to music. “Of Addictions” does this brilliantly. Despite anticipating the metal influence breaking into the mix it comes in at the perfect point. The heavy riffing moves away to ambience and then hits you again only to find its way back to ambience and moves discreetly into the next track “Floodlights”.

Unlike a lot of “post-rock” type bands, Echotide’s main instrument is the piano. It is used beautifully; “Floodlights” alone is testament to that. Again the track has a long drawn out intro until the drums slowly come in to what becomes a tom driven groove that leads, but does not wander off with the music. It’s Echotide’s style to move between quiet and loud parts and again the drums drop out and the track almost disappears until those drums sneak back into the mix and build back up to become the main instrument with carefully placed fills. You’d be fooled into thinking that the track finishes but the drums go and the music subsides into a quiet ebb.

“3mwy (Of Hope)” opens with reversed instruments and then a glockenspiel comes into the mix while earnest guitar chords fight their way into the mix. Then the drums come in. I’m starting to see a pattern with the way Echotide write. The arrangements are very similar from track to track. Luckily the quality of the music makes up for this. A violin is welcomed into the mix in the middle of this track and then distorted guitars join in to finish off the track with typically post-rock tremolo picked melodic lines.

The shortest track on the album is followed by the longest. “Embers Glow” is a 13 minute epic that is mesmerising. It slowly meanders with piano and violin and drums creeping up at the back of the mix. It’s not until 5:30 that it bursts into life. It’s welcomed as I have been on the edge of my seat, “is it coming, is it coming?” The drums march the song for a couple of minutes and then we get back to a solo piano that shimmers in delay and reduces in volume and introduces ambient waves of sound. The sound continues into “Mare Cognitum (Of Memory)” for a minute or so and a guitar takes centre stage for a post-rock out. A far eastern sound is the last part of the track. Music played with a storm raging far, far way.

The rain gets louder and the storm comes in; “Stillwaters” plays underneath the downpour. This track keeps its pace for the most part. No crescendos as such, but it the drums suddenly come in and prepare you for a rush, but nothing happens. The music comes back in and then tabla, or similar, come in with heavy guitar chords. Utterly triumphant!

I was slightly distracted during the final track, “Of Overcoming Addictions”. It sounded pretty chilled out throughout. I’m definitely looking forward to listening to this record again.

3rd Listen: I hate being interrupted when listening to music. This time it was a director from the company I work for. I should probably be doing some work, I guess. This album is too good to wait for so I have put it on while doing some menial task. So he walks over. I can feel him making a beeline without me even turning my head. The distorted guitar from “Of Addictions” blasts through my headphones. We discuss whatever it is he wants to discuss. Things he won’t understand as he does not do my job, but he needs to know to show that he’s taking charge of a situation. He goes; I have to restart the track. It’s that good.

I get to the same part of the track. “Excuse me, my laptop’s stopped booting.”

Arrrgh! They will never understand.

Conclusion: A beautiful album that runs like an entire track. This is a must for anybody into this type of music. Melodic always, but with some crushing moments of heaviness. Definitely one to buy. I hope a physical run is planned.

  • First Impression: Good
  • Final Impression: Good
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Album Review: Inter Sidera – Rhone

Rhone

Band: Rhone

Title: Inter Sidera

Genre: ambient, instrumental, jazz, post-rock

URL: http://rhonechicago.bandcamp.com/

Band introduction:

“Rhone is a thematic, instrumental rock band. This one would like to think that they are working on adding a new flavour to the genre, incorporating influences like jazz, classical and sludge rock.” – Taken from the band’s Facebook biography.

1st Listen:

As the first track, “Maar”, slowly creeps into my ears I decide that this is just going to be your standard Explosions In The Sky wannabe post-rock band. I switch off and continue going about my day until the heavier guitar parts of “To and From” break my concentration. The band continues to surprise me by breaking the Explosions In The Sky formula, but by the end of the album I can’t pinpoint any stand out moments.

2nd Listen:

The slow beginning of “Maar”, with the repeated single note holding the piece together, is rather emotive. Three minutes into the track the drums kick in and the guitar begins to progress to a slow building crescendo. There is nothing outstanding and by the time the track drops out to nothing, and moves into the next part; I am disappointed by this transition. Rhone goes into full Explosions The Sky mode for the rest of the track.

“Makeshift House” is more of the same. It’s not until about 2:50 when a beautiful melody comes into play and the song really becomes something beautiful.

“To and From” throws in some sludgy distorted guitar after another long melodic intro. It’s not as stand out as the first time I listened, but the progression into a clock like guitar part that sits behind distorted single chords that grow into distorted walls of noise is incredible. Unfortunately the track just stops and leaves me wanting more.

“Death of a Curse” follows a similar pattern. A slightly overdriven beginning leads into distortion and feedback about 3 mins in. The melodic section that it flows back into is brilliant.

The album closes with “Monolith”.  Really enjoying this track as it rises and falls and new interesting parts come and go. It peaks too soon though and couple have been a minute or so shorter.

3rd Listen:

I found myself not really bothered about listening again for a 3rd time. Pressing play I was reminded how beautiful the first part of the first track is and was glad I took the time. I’m really enjoying this play through. It’s by no means a perfect album, but for a debut it is pretty solid. Just don’t judge Rhone as an Explosions In The Sky rip off before you’ve listened to the whole thing.

Conclusion: Rhone is not bringing anything new to the genre, but this debut bodes well for their future and is definitely worth repeated listens.

  • First Impression: Indifferent
  • Final Impression: Good
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