Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Ambient but purposeful Post-Rock from Explosions in the Sky

One of the best things to come from doing this blog is I get great music recommendations from readers. One recently encouraged me to listen to Explosions in the Sky, a Post-Rock band out of Austin, TX. What is Post-Rock, you may ask? (I did.) Well, the music critic who coined the term, Simon Reynolds, used the term to describe music “using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords.” The sound incorporates elements of Ambient, Jazz, and Electronica.

Artist Esteban Rey provided this cool Van Goghesque painting that matches EITS's sonic flood.

Artist Esteban Rey provided this cool Van Goghesque painting that matches EITS's sonic flood.

Interestingly, many bands that are called Post-Rock don’t like the term, and these guys are apparently no exception. Guitarist Munaf Rayani said, “We don’t consider ourselves post-rock at all; we consider ourselves a rock band.” When I first listened to their 2007 release, All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, I thought of it as progressive Indie Rock. After reading a bit about Post-Rock and seeing who else is lumped into the genre, I have to say sorry guys, you’re Post-Rock.

I’m not sure why they object, though. Some great bands like Tortoise, Bowery Electric, and Stereolab are in this group and I think the description captures what they do. The music is all about textures and moving through and ambient space. I think that’s the big thing that keeps them from being just ambient. They don’t create a space and hang out in it. Each song is a journey, with a definite beginning, middle, and end. Some of the compositions are long and they’re not always relaxing. It’s an interesting effort and it makes me want to see these guys live.

There are only 6 tracks on the album and some of them are quite long. I recommend these three:

  • So Long, Lonesome – What a beautiful melody. There is a lot of subtly layered guitar work going on, but it all supports the melodic piano. Cool video.
  • What Do You Go Home To? – This one is as slow as a sunrise. For as ambient as it feels at times, it builds steadily to a climax followed by a 1 minute exposition. This time it is the piano that lays down a minor chord backdrop and the guitars weave in and out, bending notes and propelling the song along.
  • The Birth and Death of the Day – Unlike the peaceful beauty of the last two, this one launches into a towering set of chords played large enough to fill a cathedral. Its several movements are evocative, uplifting, and simply very pleasing. This is a brilliant composition. Listen to the whole thing on YouTube. Incidentally, someone spent a lot of time picking out video for this and it is cool to watch with this soundtrack.

This is another band that will be well worth going back to listen to their entire catalog. I’m not sure I would listen to an entire album all at once, but if you have a mix of ambient or relaxing music on your iPod, their stuff will be a great addition.

http://www.explosionsinthesky.com/

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July 2, 2009 - Posted by | Chillout, Electronica, Indie, Jazz, Post-rock

2 Comments »

  1. Have you heard of What The Blood Revealed? They’re great, I reviewed one of their EPs – http://www.cinematicmusic.wordpress.com !!! … along with lots of other bands/albums

    Comment by gwos | December 7, 2009 | Reply

    • I have not heard them yet, but based on your review, I’ll check them out. Thanks for the recommendation. That’s how I found EitS to begin with.

      Comment by missedmusic | December 7, 2009 | Reply


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