Cinématique – Limbo

Reviewed by Shanexedge

Gather ’round, readers. This is a story of a band from Vienna, Austria, and a video game created by a Danish company. There’s technically no connection, just that the newest album by the former (the 4 piece Cinématique) was inspired by the latter – both are named Limbo, and the atmosphere present in both is hugely similar. Having really enjoyed Cinématique’s first album, I was a bit curious when the band said that the new album would be “way darker and more ambient”.  Given that both of those things are elements in music that I definitely enjoy, I wasn’t hesitant, but rather just sort of wondering what they would do with that direction.

It’s been a few years since I was first introduced to Cinématique, and they became one of those bands that went so long between releases that they sort of slipped form my mind, after a decent bit of time spent wondering if they were going to release anything else. In the 2 years+ between releases, the band was still playing shows and writing music, but post-rock being the somewhat sporadic beast that it is, you never really know if that’s going to amount to anything. Fortunately, it did amount to something in this case. Something that is definitely worth the wait, and something that really shows the amount of effort that was put into making it. Having finally had the chance to sit down and listen to Limbo, I’m definitely not disappointed.

Cinématique have created an absolutely fantastic album, and if you’ve played the video game, the influence is undeniably apparent. Muscially, the album is very much an ambient record, with flourishes of post-rock here and there, not unlike Hammock or This Will Destroy You. However, one of the most impressive elements to me is the way the vocals are used, blending in flawlessly with the music, becoming more of an instrument than something layered over top of other instruments. In this regard, there’s a definite Sigur Ros feel, and Cinématique is every bit as successful with the vocals-as-instrument approach as Jonsi and company are. If you’re not really paying attention, and are just sort of lost in the beauty of the songs, it may take a bit for you to realize that those are actually vocals at all.

Typically, when I review an album, I tend to look at it from a track by track point of view – how does this one transition to the next, does this one fit stylistically with the rest of the album, etc. What Cinématique have done with Limbo is record an album that flows absolutely perfectly from start to finish. There is no question of transition from track to track, everything just flows. No abrupt changes, nothing that seems out of place at all. The final track, “White Light”, is undoubtedly the most “typical” post-rock sounding track on the album, and in a way, the preceding 7 songs feel almost like a 44 minute build up. That build up, if you will, works amazingly to lead the listener into that final track, and every single part of this album works in cohesion to create something that sounds absolutely awesome. Knowing the visual elements and amount of artistic presentation the band puts into their live shows, I’m sure that any performance of the songs on this album would be breathtaking.

What this band has done so well is take elements and influences from other bands (as well as other outside influences, the video game in particular), and string them together in a way that creates something rather unique. Are there other bands doing the ambient post-rock thing? Absolutely. However, I think very, very few are doing it as well. Given the progression between their first album and this newest one, I’m incredibly excited to see how the band moves forward from this point. With Limbo, Cinématique have proven that they deserve a position amongst the more well-known bands in the genre, and hopefully they’ll get that due recognition.

    

tags: alternative art-rock post-rock alternative ambient art-rock post-rock vienna wien Wien

Lo There I Do See My Brother – Of The Earth, Beneath The Sea

Reviewed by Foofer

When I first heard Lo’ There I Do See My Brother’s debut album “With Eyes Open, We Fall on Our Swords”, I was absolutely floored. 11 months later, they release a 7″ EP called “Of The Earth, Beneath The Sea” and it’s quite a big step in a different direction from post-rock to post-hardcore, and I must say that it suits them very well. Having grown up on bands like mewithoutYou, Saosin, Fall of Troy, and Chiodos (their new album looks immensely promising with Craig back, by the way), this is like jumping back in time. It brings a smile of nostalgia to my face.

And like the aforementioned bands, listening intently to the lyrics has its rewards. In the first song, the lyrics correspond to the music beautifully. Adam Wolbert sings “And hold me tight, until my legs stop kicking against your currents, so hold me tight.” and you can almost see him in a raging river, it’s perfectly riveting. On the b-side, or song 2, for those of you with a vinyl deficiency, you hear “And now the sun rises on me, would you look at the walls of this room and wonder to your self: are they keeping you together, or keeping you contained?” and later on “… wonder to myself: why do I let them keep me contained? Why do I let them keep me contained?” You can really tell that they put their hearts into this, and it really gets to you in a big way, if you let it.
If you won’t let it get to you, you can always get lost in their long musical passages, which are masterfully executed. There really is something for everyone here; heart-driven lyrics for the people who got into post-rock from post-hardcore backgrounds (like me) and long passages of musical intensity for people who approached post-rock from a Shoegaze background. No matter where you come from, I would highly recommend you check this EP out.

    

tags: ambient post rock progressive rock rock experiemental Tacoma

The Sound of Rescue – Forms

Reviewed by Shooter

I’ve recently been getting into making some music of my own. It’s terrible so I wont share it with you here. What I’ve found, though, is that, as a fan of post-rock and shoegaze, the yearning to discover that dreamy, effervescent sound grows only stronger with each passing day. To be able to create lush, soaring swirls of ethereal goodness is a tantalising want. The guys in The Sound of Rescue must feel that too, because it’s clear that a lot of time has been invested in getting their guitars to move and weave in such the captivating way that they do. Their approach to music is one that fully encompasses the values of post-rock at its core — that is, to use guitars to lend texture and atmosphere to their craft. That texture is extremely dense, with many sounds and effects meshing together uncompromisingly; yet it manages to never clash, or feel overly-busy. They’ve nailed their guitar sound. 

What’s left, then, is the songwriting and percussion, and these are areas where I feel that The Sound of Rescue still has room to grow. There becomes a moment in almost every song on this 10-track album — anywhere from a second to a minute in — in which the same very rigid-sounding drums kick into action, usually following an introductory swell of ambient guitar. It’s a “here we go again” moment that finds itself a hindrance to the otherwise great flow engendered by the enchanting guitar-work. The drum beats vary only slightly between songs, they sit too high in the mix, and they hit with a crisp punch that conflicts with the moist and mossy guitars. The drums are not bad by any means, they just struggle to find unison with the rest of the music.

But despite the homogeneity of a lot of this album, there are a few tracks that stand above the rest as shining examples of what this band is capable of when they’re struck with inspiration. “IV” comes seemingly out of nowhere, delivering a beautiful and uplifting chorus of powerful, driving drums and a soaring melody. Though I love what this band does with wandering textures and drones, it’s when they embrace more traditional rock melodies — like in the simple yet soothing “VIII” — that their songs become truly memorable. Everything in moderation though.

 

tags: ambient dream pop new york philadelphia post-rock wilmington drone instrumental shoegaze Baltimore

Show Me A Dinosaur – Dust

I’ll admit that there are times where I only check out an album because a band has an extremely clever or unique band name. That is how I originally stumbled upon ‘Show Me a Dinosaur’ , a three-piece from Saint Petersberg, Russia that is somewhat of a hidden gem in the post-rock realm in that they have very little following online. For those of you Geography buffs, Saint Petersberg is located near the Baltic Sea, just over 100 miles from both Estonia and Finland and is the fourth largest city in Russia. I decided to point that out because if you follow this blog you’d know there is some outright ridiculously talented post-rock bands coming out of Russia (Jakarta Project, Psychotree, Aesthesys to name a couple) and with their latest release ‘Dust’, Show Me A Dinosaur put their names right back in the mix as one of the many up and coming Russian post-rock bands you NEED to check out.

My first exposure to Show Me A Dinosaur came in early 2012 thanks to my buddy Will Hough. I quickly grew attached to their 2011 album ‘Evolvent’, particularly the song “You Can’t Find This Place on Google Maps”, which was funny to me because at the time I was actually working for Google Maps. Not to get too side tracked, the album was a blend of spacious atmospheric environments and raw unfiltered guitar work. Although a little bit rough around the edges, the album impressed the hell out of me and remained a mainstay on my ipod. I could tell this was a band on the precipice of putting everything together and really cementing a name for themselves in the post-rock world.

The time is now and ‘Dust’ is that album that should garner them much deserved attention. There is nothing more beautiful than watching a band grow up before our eyes and that’s exactly what Show Me a Dinosaur has done here with this seven track 45 minute showcase of focused power meeting technical prowess. The band has cashed in it’s atmospheric offerings for a heavier post-metal driven sound that comes equipped with adjectives such as dark, brooding and at times overbearing. It’s a transition that doesn’t come as too much of shocker and certainly isn’t dramatic by any means. Clear and obvious parallels between their new sound found on this album and their heavier material on ‘Evolvent’ can be made relatively easily.

“Man Made God” is just a wicked opener that gets straight to the “We Ain’t Fucking Around” point. From the opening seconds you instantly realize this isn’t the same band who opened their last album with a digitized beat amidst random samples and rattling background guitar. A minute in and the band is already teasing double bass pedal action as dual guitars create a static wall. There is something off-kilter and bizarre about this track’s middle ground, and I really like it. We’re offered samples pointing out the evil doings of God as pointed out in the bible. Completely ignoring all musical aspects of this track, just the idea of starting off an album with a track titled “Man Made God” knowing that it’s a subject that would draw controversy and ire is ballsy. I love it.

“Drawing The Line” is undoubtedly my favorite track on the album, as it takes samples regarding the idea of playing god from Jurassic Park, one of my favorite Childhood movies (Behind ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’), and mixes it with this sort of eerie backdrop of atmospheric guitar wailing and build up. The end result is a monumental build up with a huge pay off as guitars spiral and cymbals crash for what seems like an eternity. This song is the blueprint of everything that makes a truly epic Post-Rock track and is flawlessly executed by a band that could easily be mistaken for any of the genre’s top talents. I would say it’s comparable to the likes of This Will Destroy You but we all know they would never soil their works with samples this rad.

For what it’s worth I’m not a huge fan of the vocals found on the album’s title track and ‘Rain’ , which both close out the album as the sixth and seventh tracks. I’m not going to knock the album too much for the vocals because they’re somewhat short and even after nearly a dozen listens I find them unintelligible. Even though they technically within the realm of what the band is trying to accomplish with ‘Dust’, I’d like to see them drift away from vocals going forward. Vocals simply detract from the overall experience of their powerhouse performance and are definitely an unneeded element that I fear could do more harm than good. They get a pass this time, but next time I’m not sure I can be as forgiving.

The emergence of ‘Dust’ is the first true surprise for me in the world of Postrockstar this year. I’ll admit I hadn’t been following the band in recent months and had no idea this album was on the horizon. I sincerely hope this is the album that really grabs the attention of the post-rock world. I cannot express my happiness with how this Russian powerhouse has evolved over a short span of time. They have done one hell of a job creating a very loud album chalked full of synergetic overtones and epicness. It would be a shame if this effort doesn’t fall into the hands of the masses.

Oh and while we’re on post-rock bands with dinosaur themed names, your move ‘You Bred Raptors?’ .

 

tags: rock free instrumental post-metal post-rock postrock Saint Petersburg