So, after quite a few lengthy discussions we’ve decided to basically restart afterthepostrock with something that is light/easy on the eyes/and hopefully more interesting. Over the years ATPR has grown from just a post rock forum to multiple forums encompassing many genres. We’ve tried to simplify that again without having to worry about getting trapped into a genre and allowing better integration with labels and artists that frequent ATPR. Aside from that we’ve also decided to go with a different styled forum that focuses more on content than content organization. If you want to post a thread about how the climax in some Explosions in the Sky song, then go right ahead!
Hopefully you guys like the redesign and feel free to email me any questions or concerns!
This album was nominated for a Grammy, and it didn’t even have anything to do with the music. It was nominated for “Best Recording Package” in 2007, most likely because, “The cover art is designed by Craig Thompson, writer and illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel Blankets.”
I think that pretty much sums these magnificent dudes up. They got nominated for a Grammy that had absolutely nothing to do with the music they put out.
Brent Knopf left the band at the beginning of 2011 to focus on Ramona Falls.
I have been going through Monolake’s back catalog since discovering the excellent Reminiscence from 2003′s Momentum release in the summer of 2011. After getting started in a style closer to Dub Techno on the venerable Chain Reaction label, they subsequently have gone through some different styles. After the transitional Interstate followed a set of four LPs (Gravity, Cinemascope, Momentum and Polygon_Cities) which showed a minimalist approach to Ambient Techno with dubby elements. These four LPs show a steady move toward darker atmospheres, leading to the phase Monolake now occupies, which consists of Silence and the recently-released Ghosts.
We are told that Silence and Ghosts are the first two of a trilogy of works. Ghosts shares with Silence a focus on quality of sound rather than composition. Not that there is no composition at work, just that it seems subservient to the sounds themselves.
The eleven tracks are all shorter than 6 minutes, with the exceptions of Phenomenon (at exactly 6 minutes) and Hitting the Surface (at almost eight minutes). The pacing keeps things moving along, seldom giving the feeling of stagnation.
The opener (also the title track) is a solid bit of industrial-sounding techno, which sounds more like the music on Momentum than Silence or the rest of Ghosts. I found myself disappointed when the album slid immediately afterward into the less structured Taku. Taku does have a beat and bassline, but layered on top is an incoherent jumble of Aphex-like bouncing ball sounds. This track appears to be largely a showcase of some very formidable engineering skills.
The next four tracks strike a midpoint between the two preceeding tracks’ styles, with brooding atmosphere and more structured compositions. The female computer-voice returns in Hitting the Surface, which has been a trademark of Monolake’s work for some time.
Next up, Phenomenon returns to the avant-noise style of Taku, then Unstable Matter drops beats and basslines entirely for another showcase of seemingly random sound effects. While I find the cacophany of sounds paints an odd (and potentially interesting) picture in my mind, I find the album drags during these two.
For the final three tracks, we are returned to stronger structure, though the established tone and focus on odd sound effects remains. Aligning the Daemon includes an interesting use of a pipe organ, which for some reason fits in very well.
Foreign Object comes close to the opener in style. I get the feeling Monolake are aware of the challenging nature of this record, and want the first and last experiences to be the easiest to digest.
On the whole, Ghosts is a very coherent and well-engineered set of tracks, with contrastingly inchoherent elements used within some of the music. My personal preference is for Monolake’s work on Momentum and Cinemascope, but I do not consider Ghosts a poor release. It is a must-have for any fans of Silence, as it is an expansion of that album’s sensibilities.
Here are two greatly contrasting samples from Ghosts:
This is a very unusual work, with two 30-minute tracks, each of which has a 2-bar melody that repeats all the way through. Does this work? First, let me describe how AM radio works.
There is a carrier radio wave, at a certain frequency. The number of the station refers to its carrier-wave frequency. So if you tune your radio to AM 830, that’s a station with a carrier signal at 830 kHz. Your radio generates a wave at this frequency, and some circuitry detects the difference between that and the incoming signal. The signal coming in has sound information encoded in it, on top of the carrier wave.
So the carrier wave functions as a zero point, and the sounds are generated by differences between the signal and the original carrier wave. This album seems to function in this way. The repeating melodies are the carrier wave, and should fade from focus in your consciousness. That sets the mood and atmosphere, and the things that change around it are where the music is.
So to answer the question, “Does it work,” I have to say, “yes.”
The liner notes say this work is a result of trying to recapture the feeling of riding a train late at night, while listening to Michael Mantra’s A/B record. You can hear recordings of trains, as well as A/B “bleeding through the mix”.
This is really an hour-long journey with two atmospheres, and I recommend it. Just approach it with the right mindset: focusing on those melodies will drive you nuts!
The liner notes also recommend headphones (I agree; this is definitely headphone music), and not listening to it while driving or operating heavy machinery.
In closing, I’ll pass on a quirk of my experience with it. I find it very hard to hear the bass drum in AbA on the beat; it sounds like it’s on the offbeat. But once it switches in my head, it then remains on the downbeat. It usually switches when I pause it due to an interruption, or if my mind has drifted sufficiently.
You Tube sample:
At time of writing, this is still available at the Silentes shop on CD.
Turns out Errors have a new album out, entitled Have Some Faith in Magic.I’ve been accompanying my uni work with their album for a few days now, and I must say it’s definitely a keeper.
The overall vibe, for the uninitiated, is sort of an electro melting pot but with a alt. rock drum and guitar. I hate to label, and that description doesn’t do the album justice. You really need to listen to it. In terms of synths, there’s bleep-bloopy 8bit style synths, classic buzzsaw keys and oscillating thereminesque parts. And it’s all held together with often scorching drum parts and a heavy guitar/sparkly guitar almost reminiscent of Mogwai’s early stuff.
Indeed, Errors’ signing to Rock Action is not the only similarity the two share. In fact, the more keyboard-laden approach that we saw the boys from Glasgow create on Hardcore Will Never Die… is also similar in tone to some of the parts here, albeit toned down. But that’s not to say that they sound exactly the same or anything. Goodness no, pigeonholing them in that way just wouldn’t do this album justice
There is a lot of tonal variation on Have Some Faith in Magic, and surprisingly for a synth-laden album (but not entirely synth-based), it doesn’t sound hokey at all. If it wasn’t for the ethereal vocal tones on Blank Media, you could almost be listening to an updated Kraftwerk for 2012. And that’s definitely a good thing! Perhaps it’s the live drums at the heart of it or something. Never does the album barrel into nostalgia-ville full tilt.
Lead single Pleasure Palaces gently segues into the album with a more electro version of Chemical Brothers’ Star Guitar vibe. Very much a travelling song, in my head at least. But then halfway, it changes into a delightfully bubbly arpeggiated line that just rises out of the blue. Accompanied by a toy piano/stars twinkling line, it’s just heavenly. And that’s not something that I can say about a lot of things I’ve heard recently.
Magna Encarta(see what they did there?) has a distinct Boards of Canada sound to it, but a bit more upbeat. Again about halfway through there is a delightful transition into a fanfare of guitar and ethereal vocals. Each track is a bit like a present on this album- you never know what’s inside the box you initially hear.
Caveats? Well if you hate electronica (i.e. keys and synths) this’ll probably not do much for you. Having said that, the laid-back feel of a few of the tracks might surprise a few who don’t normally attend the churches of Roland and Casio. It’s definitely an accessible album.
I came to know of Tri Repetae rather late. I only started listening to electronic music in earnest around 1995 when a friend sent me a tape of Orbital’s Snivilization. I started going through the Autechre catalog one at a time somewhere around 2009, and came to Tri Repetae in 2010. By then, it was 15-year old music, but it did not fail to impress me; electronic music was moving fast in the 90s, so this alone says something about it.
I had given both Incunabula and Amber (the two preceding albums) plenty of time to understand them, since I was aware from my readings that Tri Repetae was a significant leap beyond them, and I wanted to feel that. These are both solid works, and I recommend them in their own right.
There are some albums that you know are special within five or ten seconds; this is one of them. As soon as the opening bass pulse of Dael finishes a cycle or two, you think you’re in for something different. Fortunately, the album does not fail to deliver on its first promise.
Alex Tedesco is from Livonia, MI. I had met him at the university that we had formerly attended and quickly became good friends. We had spoke and shared interest in creating our own music and he had shown me all of the projects he had been working on/involved in (The Toad Disco, Half-Pairof Trios, Hosts, etc). I was quite amazed at the many different genres that had inspired him to create music, especially since a lot of them had shown through and melded together within his own work. The intimate nature and soul-energy delicately tuned had always been a staple in the music that he has created.
What I will be sharing with you his is (part of his) newest masterpiece that has been in the making for quite some time now (up to three years). After many revisions, his work of art, “Pretty Lies”, is finally ready for sonic consumption and is begging for a label to pick it up. With intimate and carefully constructed pop methods combined with weird samples, beautiful noise melodies, and instrumentation layered intricately throughout this album, you shouldn’t be surprised if you are found humming a few melodies encased in this album after listening.
Five songs clock in under fifteen minutes. Real Americans Spear It is the most recent release from Look Mexico, and yes it is fresh. These guys formed the better part of a decade ago, and while they have seen quite a few members come and go, the current line-up sounds like they’ve been playing music together for the better part of two decades.
This entire thing is just a pleasure for your ears (in particular, the brass in the latter part of the opener). As a whole they have a knack for keeping pace with one another, keeping things sounding as tight as possible without sounding tired. Four EPs and two full-lengths is a solid amount of material in their seven year bandspan, but if this EP is any indication, expect more good things from these guys.
Since At the Drive In is all in the news n shizz I felt like sharing my personal favorite album. I’ll be the first to admit that I hadn’t been following these guys since they were first formed (it seems a lot of people were >_> ) and my first exposure to them was seeing them play live on MTV2 in the summer of my sophomore year in high school. You know something hits you right when you remember exactly where you were when you saw/heard it. Anyway, Relationship of Command had just come out and was all the rage but I wasn’t a huge fan of that album and instead preferred Vaya and In/Casino/Out. Oh well. If soundcloud leaves these tracks up then listen to them. I’ll probably replace them with youtube versions (yuck).
It doesn’t take an occultist to identify with and appreciate the works of the Denver-based Justin Larwick (aka Aleph.Null). Larwick’s project, Shadowcaster, results in some genuinely nasty melodies, supported by pulsing beats and calculated dissonance.
Larwick’s Visions of Zosimos achieves a calming yet irreverent tone with astounding ease, perfectly conveying his intending influences of ancient ritual with a modern twist. Each track melds easily and completely with all others in the set. The whole of the album is something spectacularly unsettling, if not downright malevolent.
Almost as intriguing as the music itself is Larwick’s focus on the relationship between his music and performance art. Each set is developed to accompany a single live performance art piece and is not repeated in the live setting. The live sets often feature occult-based rituals, often involving gore and human suspension, a perfect visualization of Larwick’s brooding sounds.
Not for the faint of heart, ShadowCaster’s Visions of Zosimos is a memorable compilation of tracks, driving one to believe in the presence of something truly evil, even if only for the 24 minutes and 56 seconds of the album. Though I have no alignment with the occult, I consider this set to be nightmare and a treasure – one that will enter my listening rotation on a regular basis.