Rogue Sounds – Jupiter and Beyond The Infinite – 81%

Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite cover art

Rogue Sounds started in 2008 ‘to create more accessible instrumental music’ and released a couple of demos and then their debut EP in 2010. They recently released this album, “Jupiter and Beyond The Infinite”, on March 10 of this year. I am happy to give this a listen and write a few words about my experience with it. The tag-line is right up my alley, boasting to incorporate pieces of electronica, space rock, post-metal and post-rock.

Straight out of the gate we are sent right into pulsing, vibrant beats. “Wormsign” showcases the band’s unique tone selection and tempts us with a faster tempo than more established bands tend to offer on an opening track. My favorite part of the song is the last minute or so when we are treated to spiraling guitars over a throbbing, staccato rhythm section. We’re immediately thrown into the next jet-fueled track without much downtime. “25th Parallel North” was the first track I had heard by Rogue Sounds, prompting me to hunt down their bandcamp page where I was glad to see ‘name your price.’ That means no agonizing decision, just grab a good quality file and put the headphones on. What I begin to notice in this second track is the use of synths to affect the atmosphere of the track. I’m starting to feel as if we’re spinning off into space, which may be due to the album title and cover art but enhanced by the subtle synth background use. The guitar work here is angular and interesting, weaving between static riffs and meandering picking, reminiscent of Russian Circles’ early work. We finally get some sort of outro at the end of this track to take a small breather after these uptempo songs. “Mission to the Sun” introduces synths over a drum machine, showing good range of instrument incorporation. It’s almost an 8-bit feel to the vocal harmony, definitely getting my head to bobbing – very organic and ethereal feel for all of these digitized instruments. I dig.

It’s time to rocket out of the atmosphere again when “Solar Nebula” opens to shimmering synth vibes layered behind driving guitar work. The song is sort of backwards, we start off really high then the band gradually leans back, gets comfortable and starts to groove. Midway, we’re treated to an interlude when silence engulfs us before repeating the reversed cycle of climax-build-gather. The second half of the song gets much more interesting as the guitarist treats us to some interesting loops, then the song ends suddenly. We’re thrown into what could almost be described as a dubstep intro for the track “Continuum Storm.” The drum machine appears to be broken and just randomly playing beats. The synths are the highlights here on this short track, which is only meant to warm us up for the closer, “LV-426.” The song slowly opens us, we have the same formula of atmospheric synths, a la God is an Astronaut, over shining guitars and pulsing beats, but the tone here feels much darker. The final few minutes seem to aspire to greatness, building on a theme and running with it. There’s a promise of something huge looming, but in the end I don’t get the release. I expected a heavier breakdown, possibly having to bang my head a little bit, but it doesn’t happen.

Overall it is a solid album, treading on ground rarely covered by this style of music, where we see incorporation of synths and electronic programming. The mood is mostly upbeat, ethereal and pulsating. The band shows us a range of movements in this short album, displaying skill with traditional instruments as well as incorporating some electronic elements, which is a welcome change for this style of music. – 10/3/12

You’ll find Rogue Sounds – Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite on their bandcamp page, name your price.
http://roguesounds.bandcamp.com/

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Sinobola – Idea EP – 86%

I’m introducing a young band founded in 2010 in Poltave, Ukraine, who started with the relatively simple setup of two guitars and drums but then quickly added a bassist to round out their sound. As we will soon discover their sound feels far from simple, even in this short three song EP.  I do not get a feeling of inexperience or lack of cohesion from these guys, it sounds as if they’ve been playing together for much longer than a couple of years.

Lovely tones greet us washed by distortion intermittently – I’m welcoming the tone selection.  Drums amp up the pace and it feels like we’re off to a great start for this short EP.  The main riff kicks in and it’s catchy as hell.  Building up to an impressive start, I’m not hearing anything terribly innovative but nor do I care at this point.  The length of the song seems appropriate, anything longer and we’d start to get a bit repetitious.  This is a great example of restraint and album engineering.

Second track starts off like a sound check but quickly we’re building up to a release that feels extremely powerful.  After the surge, I’m welcoming the twill of shimmering guitars we are all accustomed to in this genre.  I really dig the interplay between guitars in the mid-section of the track – layers on layers on top of a tight drumbeat, I have no complaints.  We have an excellent bridge, starting to notice the care they put into their sound, surprising from such a young band.  They’re invoking the post-metal traits of more well-known acts such as Long Distance Calling or Toundra.

Finally, the Estrangement begins with a deep groove which amps up the anticipatory level a good bit.  Towards the meat of the tune, we revisit the shining guitars for a moment before another buildup to what I refer to as a pseudo-climax.  They really show off their ability to transition between loud and quiet, which is essential to this style of music. Later on in the tune, we do get that release that was hinted at from the start.  The guitars get a biting tone, the drums really quicken the pulse and you’re forced to start bobbing your head.  By the end, you’re waving the devil horns in your hands and begging for more. 8/22/12

Their music is freely downloadable on their last.fm page:  http://www.last.fm/music/Sinobola

Jakarta Project – Beauty Lies In Lover’s Eyes – 81%

Beauty Lies In Lover's Eyes cover art

(IamHop  – Please welcome Bothra to Postrockstar! Bothra is a founding member of Post-Rock & Beyond on turntable.fm and brings a deep understanding and knowledge of the realm of Post-Rock to the site. He is the first of what I hope to be many contributing writers to the site in order to diversify reviews and catch up on our huge backlog of albums to review so that we can provide a faster turn-around time to new releases and bring other featured articles to the site. )

For my first review, I’m taking a look at Jakarta Project’s latest offering, Beauty Lies In Lover’s Eyes.  Released on August 13, this is the followup to Geographic, reviewed here back in July.  I find most of IamHop’s thoughts apply to this release as well.  This Russian band seems to be pretty busy this year in the studio.

Another short album, nearly an EP, this one clocks in around 30 minutes from six tracks.  The first thing I notice is the album cover, a pretty girl in the water with her eyes closed.  I wonder if this has significance since beauty, apparently, lies in her eyes – yet they are shut.  Is there no beauty, or is it something that will be revealed by listening to the album?  I guess we’ll find out.

Album opener – The Owl Song – greets us with heavily delayed and reverb rich acoustic guitars which come across cleanly and precisely.  I definitely get a feel for their unique sound and am reminded of a few tracks from Geographic as this short track washes over me.  It gets me excited to hear the rest of the album as any great intro should.   Unfortunately, it begins to feel haphazardly thrown together when the next track, LA Streets, starts us off with an electronic loop bleeding into some heavy riffs.  Here is when I first notice what is known as “the bandcamp sound” – the lack of production quality is apparent, but understandable for self-releases, especially from these less-than-established bands.  Typically, I can move past that and listen to what the artists were trying to convey.  Regardless of that, we have short bursts of riffs backed by a pulsing drumbeat giving away to a breakdown with an Indian vibe to it.  The electronic loop resurfaces at the end and suddenly there is a piano or keyboard towards the end of the track.  The third track feels like filler, with the lead guitar picking the melody over some clean delay loops and a meandering melody.

Maria’s Sunday Morning is probably the strongest track on the album for me.  We’re reminded of the album opener as this song starts us off with acoustic guitars working their way into the mix with another electronic loop.  The drums beat a pretty standard poppy 4/4 behind this interesting mix of electronic loops overlaid with pretty guitar work.  The build-up and punch remind me of God Is An Astronaut, while the melody is memorable it falls into the standard rinse-and-repeat trap.  The overall climax of the song is underwhelming, which could be due to production and we’re left with more electronics to lead us out to the next track.  Last Night in Tokyo revisits a disco beat, this time over light piano notes.  The main riff kicks in and I feel underwhelmed again, and the final crescendo shows promise of a heavy, rocking band but ends too quickly.  We’re left with the final track, Out Of Memories, which opens with sounds of a seashore.  This somber track is slow and dreamy, feels almost verse-chorus-verse without vocals.  It’s a pretty happy melody, kind of mellow and winds down leaving us back at the seashore listening to the waves.

Overall, a pretty standard release.  This band follows in the footsteps of Maserati’s middle releases – danceable beats with heavily delayed guitars providing the melody.  Where it fails is the lack of production quality and overall meandering between sounds.  We have acoustic guitars, electronic looping, heavy riffs, pianos, dance beats, cymbal riding and even a cowbell or two.  I felt confused on their direction but not totally disappointed.  If this band were to get some quality studio time with a seasoned engineer, I feel they could make a powerful record.  Still, with the album as pay-what-you-will via bandcamp, it should be digested by any fans of this genre. 8-17-12

Pay what you want on bandcamp:  http://jakartaproject.bandcamp.com/