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Actual Music Quartet RSM - Actual Music Quartet RSM CD (album) cover


Actual Music Quartet RSM


Post Rock/Math rock

3.95 | 26 ratings

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4 stars Upon listening to Actual Music Quartet RSM's strong and beautiful debut, you understand immediately that this is no ordinary post-rock ensemble out of many, many others (and, actually, isn't just post-rock as well - but this will be addressed later), plus that - despite cultivating a simple style, approach and serenity - we're not talking about a banal project. On the contrary, while other imposing bands worked hard to make their name without sliding out of the brand commonly referred to as "post-rock", here seems to be the case of a band for which "post-rock" is just a point of beginning, a solid lean from which to further evolve their personal, well-handled expression. Actual Music Quartet RSM have a way of sounding original though it's hardly what their effort is all about, plus their start has such a freshness, it's just natural to wish for more in the future. Second to this comes their true desire of relating to the wave of "actual music": while this can't be properly explained in words, but neither sounds fancy, pompous or un-dexterous and unfocused from the band's side, it's still an obvious choice, as these Russians play "strictly" modern music, pulling the rock element out of its traditional plugs, and could likely continue to play, improvise or hash more and more "actual" expressions of today's musical horizons.

Again, the keywords for this band are not "groundbreaking", "extravagant" or "tendentious", instead their first work sets a remarkable standard of "cultivated", occasionally "surprising" and actively "artistic" progressive music. Apart from their underground roots and indie charm, simplicity could be one way of judging this 2007 maiden effort, and post-rock is after all the best place where to corner the band, but much more is offered in the same time. In this case, thinking that AMQ's music and conceptuality is too simple or too far from sophistication becomes a heavy preconception. Sure, the whole thing isn't intricate either, still the qualities are there, the music's fine and the pleasure of listening could possibly be the aspect which the band achieved to offer most without even thinking about it excessively. The first thing that proves how serious and solid this formation is to be regarded lies in the raw talent of the musicians: close to the music that sounds positively cultivated, there are subtleties coming from the band that I would personally imagine being realized only thanks to a considerable musical education. The band, anyway, communicates very well, and the music - often sounding like a suite of uninterrupted yet contrasting and of a different spectrum part - is of an admirable production and unitary sense.

In terms of playing, each member knows what proper, perfectly blended sound they're supposed to create, none claims to be a technique guru, but moreover works on expression or, depending whether a track sounds slim or tense, on how to make good ideas and practiced lines translate in great music, of a captured decisive spirit.

There's not much to fuss about precarious details, on the other hand, even if, for example, the keyboardist is the one artist that stretches the nature of his instrument very widely, from electronic dark flavors to somehow retro (therefore "anti-actual") dubious seconds, or if, as another example, the guitarist's effort is a bit unnoticed (I don't feel his lead that well anyway).

And, already at this point, is there a more viable argument in favor of AMQ's great form other than the multi-instrumental skills born in each and every one?

Closing in on the music, the style is no less interesting, as it both combines and individualizes different patters: post-rock is a must-be-mentioned primary color, but it's not so opaquely developed. AMQ's language, concerning this style, is straight and simple, mostly atmospheric, cinematic or of an edgier momentum. Besides, however, this short but savant debut also focuses on alternative, heavy, jazzy, electronic or soundtrack music. If you start the experience by thinking the concept of titles (though, is there one?) looks tough to acclaim or that you have to go through several short tracks, not exceeding 4 minutes, to finally reach the juicy side of the album, you might really end up speechless on how leveled the whole material is subjected to a listen and how, for each of the eight moments, perfection is likely sacrificed for, instead, a blended-in musical adventure, of the pleasant and constantly strong kind. Tram Song, the opener of AMQ, is melodic post-rock, spiraling its sonic structure dynamically and consonantly. The tune called Number Two, on the other hand, sounds like alternative rock, full of volume, slipping succinctly at some point into heavier & darker aromas; the bass is magnetic, while neo keyboard motives are an arguable element. Rm contrasts with sad, slow, dense post-rock harmonies, the growth of this fluent if usual atmosphere being experimental bits. Grooba is an original leap into technical avant-rock fast drifts, the funky side of this "jumpy", dashing performance being noticeable and cute. Clock 77:77 would probably qualify as a phenomenal traditional post-rock emulation, though I'm personally more reserved down the end, where decomposition towards silence takes place. In One Point's essence is also post-rock, though the fusion-like main theme on percussions, plus several intermezzos of an electronic reverberation quality say it differently. Face 2 Face is of a great sound & build, mixing (for the first time in the whole album?) jazzy, post and alternative samples. Finally, this wouldn't be an artistic opus after all if not for a sensible, tad mysterious, finale like Watermirrors, with the flute coming in strong, enticing. The feeling of the piece is light-rock, so nothing serious, yet calming.

All in all, this album, together with this band, deserves a very warm recommendation. Considering it below a good, solid, substantial effort is absurd. Impressive and delightful, the kind of "actual", indie rock Actual Music Quartet propose/promote is also - repeating that word for the fourth time - cultivated.

Ricochet | 4/5 |


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