yesterday you got to know [the] slowest runner [in all the world], and their 2009 début. and let me just put it like it is, straight away, if you liked the flophouse sessions, you will *love* we, burning giraffes. if their début was gorgeous, this is ravishing. while the début lingered, as if at the edge of a cliff, and explored its reactions and feelings, this record *jumps*. don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of atmospheric and absolutely beautiful lingering. but instead of merely creating a mood and exploring it, every now and then giving away to the occasional venting spark, their newest endeavour goes off like fireworks. and it does this frequently and successfully. it does so splendidly. consequently making slowest runner one of the best ambient rock bands. consequently making slowest runner that one band that has a one hour album, with three of the songs well over ten minutes long, where no songs are so daunting that you end up listening to that one good track instead. slowest runner has made a thoroughly interesting album. a consistent effort that is perhaps best compared to Yndi Halda at their finest – or a more vivid and poignant Godspeed You! Black Emperor. while applying monumentally opposing amounts of pressure, there’s always a balance to this record, as well as a sense that everything fits. there’s sort of a sense of predictability in action. but it does not make it boring or bad. because you grow fond of this music, and knowing where it goes makes you feel like you know it. you want it to carry you away. and it does this frequently and successfully. it does so splendidly.
archive for the ‘ambient/noise’ category
as you may be aware of, I’m not the biggest fan of the “post rock” tag. it doesn’t make sense to me. interpreting “rock” as a verb, “to excel” or as “to shake your body”, makes “post rock” “to suck” or “to stand still”. or are we talking about shaking a pole? because “post” as in Latin for “taking place afterwards” certainly doesn’t make sense to me, because rock isn’t done yet. so the very phrase by itself makes no sense to me. couple it with the common descriptions, and I’m even more lost. I’m told “post rock” is supposedly “bands with rock instruments that do not play rock”. what is a rock instrument? and why are all the most popular “post rock” bands (Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky, etc) rock bands? why are random emo bands like Slint and Moss Icon post-rock? argh! but seeing as this is a music blog, not a rant blog, I’m going to move on from my inability to understand the phrase or trend that is “post rock” now. so here is a band that is commonly referred to as a post rock (ugh) band. they have that long weird name, long progressive and instrumental rock songs that is apparently “typical” for post rock, despite that bands such as Sigur Rós do not have a long name and aren’t instrument… sorry. where was I? oh yes. [the] slowest runner [in all the world] isn’t one of those formulaic crescendo bands. (not that there’s anything wrong with those bands!) they are instead one of those who search for a mood, find it, and linger there, until they’ve explored all it has to offer. the tools of their trade are strings, piano, guitars, drums, extremely sparse and seldom vocal harmonies and occasional electronic noises. this was all recorded live in a living room, which is something I appreciate. “live recordings” is one of my favourite oxymoron, because it gives the whole thing an organic and warm sound, and often leaves room for the occasional spark. the only complaint I have about this album is that the piano at the beginning of “This Is Water” sounds annoyingly much like the first track on Sigur Rós’s (), and, if I’m completely honest, this isn’t () by a mile, so it just irks me that I pick that up. I am looking forward to this band in the future, because this, while no (), is absolutely gorgeous. it’s just a beautifully accomplished record. it catches my attention with its graceful beauty and warm energy. so do yourself a favour and check this band out, because they are truly promising to the n-th degree.
do you remember lover? I sure do. weird minimalist ambient noise shoegaze stuff that has you at all times contemplating whether to bob your head in appreciation or scratch it in confusion. (you can do both, but that would be weird.) this album carries the tradition on, with even a little techno thing going for it. (though calling this a “techno” album would be an extremely far stretch.) a great portion of this is instrumental, but there’s also some tracks with vocals. those are the more shoegaze-y ones with guitars dominating melody, whilst being almost being repressed by the banging bass beat, and on top of that you have blip blops and then of course the vocals are in there somewhere. this record is bass-heavy and noisy. but pleasant nonetheless. some of the riffs are even just melodic and catchy! add to this the fantastic atmospheric value, and you’ve got yourself a highly interested listen. I would go as far as saying that this is even better than death stay awake. the absolutely beautiful “FACEKEEPER” perhaps steals the main portion of the glory, with a guitar that simply carves into your heart and spine at the same time, which is quite the impressive accomplishment given this album being in mono. get this!
curious TUMBLEWEAVE are back with another curious effort. this time an album, which you can buy on a really nice looking CD-R (more details in the link). this is supersonic noise electronica. really weird, but really interesting. TUMBLEWEAVE are sometimes reminiscent of uplifting and positive energy chiptunes, but sometimes just too surrealistic to compare to anything else. from the jazz-y opening track to the dark “Pure Moat”, to the droning “Rumbleweave” (which is along with “Mystery Lunch” re-recorded from the demo), to the psychedelic monster of a last track – TUMBLEWEAVE are definitely back, with songs that are more densely layered than ever. they also have a sort of darker and thicker sound to them, compared to the already more than dark and thick demo. this album is *packed* with sounds. there are just so many of them, that they can’t be processed all at once. and that’s without even taking into account that it sort of sounds like there are fifty genres or so being “tumbleweaved” together, to come off as a whole new sound. this is a mammoth. get it.
already present on this blog is Benjamin Finger’s great Woods of Broccoli and Beneva vs. Clark Nova’s Dramadadatic (Benjamin Finger is one half of Beneva vs. Clark Nova, if you did not know that already). the first mentioned is introverted, often minimalist and very moody. the Beneva vs. Clark Nova album was a far more upbeat and joyous affair. these two polar opposites sort of come together on this album. it does just as good a job at being downhearted, as it does at being upbeat. and Benjamin Finger proves to be a master of many widely different styles. there’s soothing synths, glimmering strings, and ethereal vocals that form a dreamy atmosphere. then all of a sudden that atmosphere gives way for catchy blip blops and kicking drum beats. everything changes rapidly and ever so often. I’d like to mention that the cover (which was designed by Bryan Voel, by the way) is gorgeously executed. its mix of mostly colourful and vivid images make up a collage. this is noteworthy because the music is in many ways the same. a collage of mostly colourful and vivid images. it’s near forty minutes long, but time really does fly when it comes to this album. very much helped by the endless mix of infinite sounds and genres. it’s not exactly unpredictable or random, but it’s really clever and very pleasant to listen to. it’s a blip and a blop and a glitch and a pop. get this. you should definitely buy it from http://www.howisannierecords.com as well. it’s well worth the money.
lover is made up of a guy who used to be in When I Came Back from Death. this sounds absolutely nothing like When I Came Back from Death at all. it is completely different in every way possible. this release consists of three very different tracks. the first one has a stripped down minimalist space ambient sound. the second one has a far more accessible upbeat acoustic guitar with screamed vocals type of thing going on. the third one sort of blends the two close to polar opposites, and introduces us to a heavily textured shoegaze sound, with synth, guitars, vocals and even drums. it is the most “happening” song on the death stays awake, and in my opinion also the best one. so what you essentially get if you download this is three largely different tracks of experimental ambient/shoegaze music. it’s not for everyone… but it might be for you! download this.
TUMBLEWEAVE describes themselves as “cartoon noise rock”. not bad, eh? it’s essentially mysterious and densely layered noises. the songs consist of extremely many details, and a seemingly endless number of elements. this is reflected in the 1700+ bitrate of the FLACs, actually the highest of any albums in my current music library. their music would serve well as the background score for a curious and dark 16-bit game, if not for the fact that I’d probably be pausing the entire time, listening to the music instead of playing the game. this record is only just three minutes long, and is pretty much impossible to process on just one listen. TUMBLEWEAVE have created a mammoth, capable as serving both as ambient noise music as well as upbeat and catchy blip blop pop – at the very same time. this is an extraordinary intriguing piece of work that deserves a listen and then some more listens. GET THIS!
it’s been all too long since the last post consisting of one of Ethan’s many beloved project. for those of you who aren’t up to date – he’s in The Loneliest Cowgirls, Henry Bemis Is A Superhero and Screaming and Dreaming. oh, and The Sky Looks Pissed. which brings me to this post. This Ending Promise is the first “Ethan post” in a while, so I hope you’ve missed him as much as I have. for those of you who aren’t Ethan nerds, this band is a fairly stereotypical down to earth folk rock band. at least most of the time. occasionally though (especially on this new album), it strays away from the “formula”, in favour of e.g. ambience, noise or punk. the lyrics are personal and confrontational, and not (obviously) political. it’s mostly songs about girls, to be quite honest. filled with humour and self-irony akin to Loudon Wainwright III. in between the songs about girls, are ambient – almost shoegaze passages. anyway, to sum it up – it’s a fairly experimental folk rock album. if you like folk rock, you might like this. if you don’t like folk rock, you probably won’t like this. you know what to do people.
to continue our exploration and appreciation of the glorious nation Kazakhstan, here is another Kazakh artist. Ochra Days covers an entirely different sound than Mapadelmundo though. we’re going from whiplash screamo to trance-inflicting ambient music on that’s punk, because that’s punk! Ochra Days is a synth-heavy project that evokes many different moods by moving throughout various atmospheres elegantly. the transitions are performed with much grace. this is the kind of ambient that is soft enough to put on in the background, but detailed enough to be reward an attentive listener as well. the modus operandi for Our Dreams Are Drawn In Grey is mainly wide and layered arrangements that sometimes find their way into distorted noise climaxes. if this sounds appealing to you, I urge you to check this out. it’s quite the experience. Borat approves of this post.
this band consists of the atmospheric mastermind Benjamin Finger and the laid back and poppy Rudi Simmons, both of which have albums posted on this blog. and these guys are every bit as great together as they are apart! though vastly different than their solo counterparts. this is mostly upbeat, insanely catchy and soothing electronica with hints of idm and glitch music. Beneva vs. Clark Nova produce distinct and concrete melodies with a huge crush on the vague and abstract. the album is all killer, no filler. it’s filled with highlights, and never wastes time. this is every bit as atmospheric as those really downbeat Sigur Rós and Múm songs, not only the calm parts, but even when running at full speed down a flight of stairs, Beneva vs. Clark Nova is an atmospheric – as well as joyful affair. though you might frequently be puzzled as to what the hell is going on in this art expo of an electronica album, it’s still very enjoyable, despite the confusion. this is a fantastic album, magnificently building up and keeping suspense whilst being very soothing at the same time. download it! then buy it from http://howisannierecords.com – it’s worth it. the cover is the great photograph “The Greenhouse” by Sandy Skoglund, and it’s a very pretty looking digipack that’s well worth the money.