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Explosions In The Sky - Travels in Constants (Vol. 21): The Rescue CD (album) cover


Explosions In The Sky

Post Rock/Math rock

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Going off quietly

"The rescue" was originally released as part of TRL label "Travels In Constants" subscription series, which has now sold out. Although it has never been made available on general release, "The rescue" can still be obtained at gigs by the band.

This is an 8 track mini-album recorded and released in 2005, and lasting around 33 minutes. The tracks were recorded at the rate of one per day resulting in the titles of "Day 1", "Day2", etc. Unlike their official releases, the songs here are largely the results of improvisations, with little or no composition being undertaken beforehand.

The results are actually not particularly different to their albums. Here the tracks are shorter, with less development, while being generally softer. The ambient nature of Explosions in the Sky's music comes to the fore to a greater extent, with plinky, repetitive sounds very much in evidence.

One of the major surprises of the EP is the use of vocalising on "Day 2". This makes for a very pleasant change from the rather monotone sound the band tend to rely upon. As a whole, there's certainly less of the heavy riffing so evident on "The earth is not.." and other releases. The emphasis here is on repeating ambient melodies, sometimes veering towards the new age end of the spectrum.

Some tracks work better than others. "Day 3" is just a little too laid back, while "Day 6" has more in the way of the crescendos which the band love so much.

The twin guitars of the band work well together throughout the album, but for me the drumming is at times just a little too enthusiastic and clichéd. In all, this is really one for the fans only, but if you do enjoy the music of the band make sure you pick this up next time you are at a gig by them.

Report this review (#72662)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album can be downloaded in its entirety off of Explosions In The Sky's official website, which was how I acquired it, and also developed a deep love for the band. The music showcased on this EP displays some more experimental qualities of the band, nearly bordering on new-age during some of the quieter tracks. Almost all of the songs have a dream-like quality, and are launchpads for thoughts.

For those who don't know, this was recorded over the course of eight days, with the band not having done any writing before. There's an adventurous spirit captured by several of the tracks. "Day 1" is probably the most familiar of all the songs, and has a great guitar sound. The vocals on the second track create a desparate feeling at first, but upon their second appearance they almost sound celabratory to me. "Day 2" cycles between emotions in under four minutes.

That's another thing to be noted about this album, the length. The EP is barely over thirty minutes, which lends it an excellent replay value, like Nick Drake's 'Pink Moon.' The uneasy segment "Day 3" wouldn't be out of place as a piece of a Godspeed work. It does wonders to build up atmosphere, which is supplemented in each track with echoey background guitars, and sparkling synth notes. "Day 4" overlaps upon itself over a simple rhythm and explodes into moments of joy.

I really dig the drumbeats on many of the songs on the album, they're all exciting and fresh. The piano on "Day 5" is wonderful, and builds around the same theme. "Day 7" is probably my favorite track, it begins with a rumbling bass drum, that slowly trudges along as it picks up pristine guitar and delighted piano. Tambourines and vocals pick up around the delicate, icy sound. The song is beautiful, and is perfect during winter.

Report this review (#98683)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Wondering what Explosions in the Sky sounds like? Wanting to hear what post rock sounds like? Wanting to broaden your prog perspective? Want free music? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then go to this band's website and download this free EP immediately. Although this is a decent first exposure/introduction to Explosions in the Sky's music, it does not at all sum up the post rock subgenre, and if you dislike it, than surely do not paint this diverse subgenre in the same colour as this album. I can guarantee that Godspeed's or Ulver's music is nothing like this.

This album does require a lot of attention to listen to properly, and it would properly do to avoid listening to the entire thing in one sitting. This is a record (and a band [and a subgenre, for that matter]) that really requires thorough absorbing to fully appreciate. With minimal percussion, lots of soothing mellow guitar, the loosey-goosey, nimbostratus song structures really offer a slow and almost psychedelic experience. Bells/xylophone (whatever that instrument is) along with subtle piano add an even more cloud-like, aerial, even celestial musical touch. With a small amount of wordless vocals, and some spoken word, the soundscapes are complete. Some of the effects (particularily on drums) I find very distracting and quite irritating, actually. And, unfortunately, the ethereal song structure does grow tiresome, and we begin to wonder if they will compose something a bit more stimulating. Even the soft and mellow melodies do not conjure up a substantial emotional response. To sum up their sound: this record sounds like Sigur Ros, without the heavenly vocals, and without as many melodies, or as much atmosphere. Worth a listen, though, for both Explosion fans, and for post rock fans (especially since it's free!)

Report this review (#129654)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I first heard this EP when one my indie-head friends came over told me he found this amazingly beautiful experimental band and immediatelly downloaded the rescue (along with several single tracks) from the EITS website onto my computer. He was wrong about the experimentality but right about the beauty. This sound has been done before, but not ever in the same way as EITS does it. This is a great EP, if you are into Post-Rock there is no excuse for not having it (its free) but if you have not heard post-rock before than this is not the place to start as it lacks in some of the genres finest sounds.

The interesting thing about this album is that it was recorded a song a day for eight days. This means that alot of it was improvised, wich is unlike the usual highly practiced music that they usually produce.

Day One: probably the most memorable of the songs, it does tend to sound a little bit too much like shoegaze and not post rock.

Day two: My personal favourite song on the EP, it expresses so many different ideas in so little time and all of them are unexpected. The lagh in the middle of the song is verry unexpected and funny, I especially like how it feels like the song should be over but it keeps on.

Day three: I know that others have noticed this but uhh.. Godspeed anyone. This track would feel right at home in any GYBE! album the sampled voices really add to the GYBE! effect and it has their drone-ish style.

Day four: Verry sentimental and strangelly uplifting. The major flaw is the drumming, it's great but really doesn't seem to fit the song in some areas.

Day five: The sort of thing that one would expect to hear from The Album Leaf, its good but its not EITS.

Day six: Dramatic as all heck. Sounds like people marching to war or some such thing at the beggining. But then it quickly turns into a verry shoegaze sounding durdge.

Day seven: A sad song. It makes me think of funerals, but wait is that a glimmer of hope I hear. (i know this says nothing about the actual song, I dont care its a better description than anything else I could type)

Day eight: Best rythm that I hav ever heard coming from EITS. More origianal than most the rest of the songs and with a different type of build up than most Post-rock

All in all: A little derivative in places but its great for fans looking for a different side of EITS, but will likely appeal to any one intrested in Post rock.-three stars

Report this review (#130356)
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Eight songs representing eight days in the characteristic style of EitS. Almost minimal compositions with emphasys on guitar sections, slowly rhythmical sections and some little and nice surprises are some of the special features of this EP.

It's a good album. Sounds floating and prettey athmospherical with the classic crescendos from the middle of every song to the end. One of the surprises is the inclusion of some chosrus on Day 2 which works perfectly (BTW this is my favourite track). Day Four is another great song with a beautiful piano background. Day Five is maybe the most interesting piece of the album cos his drumming, guitar sections and piano background and opf course his grand finale.

Not the best into EitS discography but a nice album to listen alone at night with all lights off...

Report this review (#143219)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place", which was my introduction to this band, I was almost afraid to give "The Rescue" a listen. Why? Because aforementioned album was so horrible, dull and boring. I was quite amused by a level of...nothingness represented there. Immature ideas and songs, but not a single good thing the youth can provide. Compared to that album (which is one of the worst albums I've ever heard, I must say), "The Rescue" EP sounds almost like a masterpiece. So, this guys actually CAN came up with something more substantial... Maybe they progressed in a two years time. The difference is so huge I was thinking of another group of people under the same name...because the only mutual thing is "post rock".

Indeed, this albums is a typical post-rock template, not groundbreaking at all, and being not so terribly good neither. But it contains pleasant moments, and some smart, wisely chosen sounds. Especially if we consider the fact this one is a pure improvisation, the final result is okay. All the songs are labeled "Day One" "Day Eight" and they are improvisations in their home studio. There are some dull and boring moments, it happened more than once that music passes by me without noticing...well the tracks are quite similar. At least it's not hermetic and all the songs are not written in the same key.

It's hard to give impressions for separate tracks...and it's also beside the point. This EP is well focused. The piano is providing a nice touch to the songs, guitars are really, really under control of doing something unpredictable; there are some overdubbed vocals/speech sections which helps a certain track a lot. My complaint goest to a final mix, my taste demands a different ratio of recording levels for each of the instruments. But since they were doing the recording themselves, it's not bad. My another complaint goes on the drums, they're just dull at the moments; I always felt post-rock sensibility needs a skillful jazz drummer with the brushes rather than a standard chack-poom, no matter how slow it might be.

But in a overall picture, I stated more complaints about the EP than good things, it's simply because my complaints can be pigeon-holed, while the good part needs to be experienced. At least there are some good parts here.

This is a huge improvement. Two and a half stars.

Report this review (#152480)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The concepts aren’t developed all that much and the overall tone is more reserved than on the band’s previous studio releases, but ‘The Rescue’ is a pretty good representation of Explosions in the Sky for those who may not be familiar with their work.

The best thing about this EP of course is that it can be downloaded free from the band’s website, or at least it could be as of this writing. The record has also been released as Volume #21 in the TRL Travels in Constants series of recordings by a wide variety of post-rock, experimental and indie bands. Explosions, along with Mogwai and Low are probably the most well-known of the bands in the ‘Constants’ series so far, but if you have a chance to check these mail-order-only discs out you should – there are some very innovative and largely unknown artists represented on them.

Anyway, I guess this record was supposed to have been created as a tribute or reminiscence or something of an eight-day downtime the band had while touring a while back when their van broke down and took that long to be repaired. If you listen carefully to some of the spoken-word bits sprinkled around a few of the tracks you can hear them talking about this incident, and about being left stranded, bored and broke after it happened.

From an artistic standpoint the interesting points of the record include the fact the band says they didn’t write any of it in advance; instead, they improvised a track each day for eight days and then spent a week or so mixing it. As a result the tracks seem to be a slight bit disjointed at times, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They also experimented with some new instrumentation, and although their website download doesn’t include credits you can hear lots of piano, what appear to be a little bit of programmed digital sound (but don’t quote me on that), and a few other unidentified percussive sounds. But this is Explosions, and the emphasis is always on the guitars, so fans of the band shouldn’t be put off by the foray into new instruments since they don’t do much to alter the band’s overall sound.

There’s not much that’s new here, and the tracks are considerably shorter than what the band typically puts out. But the concept is fresh, the guitar work very disciplined, and the overall package is worth a half-hour of your time. Three stars easily, and recommended to pretty much any prog fan.


Report this review (#158421)
Posted Saturday, January 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars really!

I'm a big fan of EITS, and this may not be their best album, but it is still kool in my books. Probably the best thing about this EP is that you can download it for free from the band's official website. So, if you are curious about EITS and you don't want to spend any money, then this would be a great place to start. This is not a typical EP as far I am concerned. There are no tracks here that appear on any other album in any shape or form. This is all original songs. The songs are short and are fairly representative of the general EITS sound. I think all of the studio albums are actually better than this, so, if you like this EP, you should definitely try one of their other albums.

Report this review (#173865)
Posted Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars 'The Rescue', while containing nice melodies and upbeat atmospheres comes across almost entirely as filler material by the otherwise good band Explosions in the Sky. You can download this EP for free of the band's website, and that's probably a good thing, since because of the 'sameness' of the EP will most likely lead to dissapointment in the search of good music.

'The Rescue' is eight instrumental tracks with mainly clean guitar among the other standard rock instruments. With these instruments the band is able to make the listener feel like he is playing in the snow, or resting on a chilly wilderness log in the middle of winter. Though the instrumentation is nice, the music ultimately goes nowhere and will if anything be confined to become background music (which it probably does a fine job of). A couple of tracks are energetic, but most are midtempo, leading to rather boring songwriting. "Day 6" even has melodies resembling another Explosions in the Sky track, "Your Hand in Mine".

Explosions in the Sky fans will most likely already have this EP. Because its free, it's probably worth checking out. Who knows? The short sweet tracks may appeal to somebody.

Report this review (#219040)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Pleasant music for a relaxed evening

That was the thought that occurred in my mind while listening to The Rescue. By no means is this a boring ''soft'' album, but it is very relaxed as far as prog is concerned. While I am not a great fan of the post/math rock genre, this EP is definitely worth a few spins. Bearing in mind that it is available for free download from the band's website, it makes the effort more attractive.

One can easily recognise the ''improvisation'' approach taken in this release. The tracks are solely instrumental and there is no specific structure whatsoever; there is always a basic idea, a basic melody on which the track evolves afterwards. The melodies are very pleasant but nothing sounds ground-breaking in this release. It brings to mind works from bands like The Smashing Pumpkins (especially Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness), Muse and most of all Sigur Ros. Slightly distorted and acoustic guitars, pianos and modest mid-tempo percussion constitute the sound of this EP. With the exception of Day 3 (indifferent to my ears), the rest of the tracks sound charming and flow well without any signs of complexity.

Overall, a decent release that definitely does not bring a revolution to the genre but is worth giving it a try. Particularly recommended for friends of Sigur Ros and related bands, this might be a good companion for a cold winter evening...

Report this review (#220129)
Posted Sunday, June 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nice album of shorter EitS songs!

Well, not quite an album, but an EP released in 2005 that this talented and well-recognized American post-rock band offers, and that can also be free to download via their website, so once again, take advantage of this facility and download it, if you like it or not, is your decision.

The thing here is that this EP saw the light after their probably most successful album (The Earth is?) which some people consider one of those masterpieces of post rock. So don't compare, don't pre-judge, the music here follows the same line as their previous albums, the "problem" might be that here you'll find shorter tracks, less elaborated. Featuring eight songs and a total time of 33 minutes, "The Rescue" is an album divided in eight days, I don't really know the story behind them, but I could think that they composed one song per day.

So "Day 1" starts softly with that gentle and emotional guitar sound that a band like Explosions in the Sky offers in all their albums. "Day 2" is even gentler, in moments I imagine the music can be used for telling a story or even a fairytale. One thing sure, is that you can close your eyes and relax, and maybe create some images in your mind. Another thing here is that you'll find some voices creating a special atmosphere, this is worth mentioning because the band don't really use to put voices in their music.

"Day 3" features spoken words and a guitar that in moments reminds me of Sigur Ros. There is a soft but nice atmosphere, though after a couple of minutes you might get bored. "Day 4" is more interesting, since the beginning you can notice a change in the rhythm, the drums appear louder and those emotional guitars return, the music is charming and cool, easy to enjoy.

"Day 5" has fast percussion but slow guitars that together create a cool mixture. The track gradually progresses with the help of new elements, once again, you can relax and receive this charming music. "Day 6" is the only piece that reaches five minutes, and I dare say it is the proggiest of them all. It also has a nice selection of elements that make the song richer of sounds, also there are some nice changes in both, the direction and the feelings.

"Day 7" is not their best, I would actually say that this is simply a "more-of-the-same" track, despite it has a nice acoustic guitar and a Christmas-like sound, I feel it is just another song and that's it. And finally "Day 8", the shortest of the EP, just a nice way to end this mellow album.

You can have a good time, relax and enjoy half an hour of soft post-rock, not bad at all, but obviously not the best example of EitS music. My final grade will be three stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#308910)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Number 21 in a series of 23 mini-albums commissioned by the TRL record label works almost like a biographical sketch: a week in the life of Explosions in the Sky. The Austin post-rockers, normally very deliberate in their songwriting, challenged themselves for this project, approaching it with no planning, no premeditation, no rehearsals, and the goal of recording one complete track each day for eight days, with a further six reserved for mixing.

It must have been an intense experience, but you wouldn't know it from the unaffected ease of the finished product. Supposedly there's a concept of sorts behind the music, recalling a nervous week after the band's tour van broke down in western New York, stranding the quartet in a stranger's attic, where they "read books and watched blizzards and ate Chinese food and went sort of nuts" (quoting their own account). Not exactly epic subject matter, but it was never meant as an epic album.

In another setting any one of these tracks might have been the ground floor to a much larger structure. Here each day's output was designed to be self-sufficient, and that conceptual simplicity extends to the music itself: miniatures of understated mood and emotion, all of them refreshingly short and sweet (only one cracks the five-minute ceiling). Working on a smaller canvas may have yielded smaller results, but good things often hide in undersized gift wrap, and by not allowing themselves any time to develop and polish each piece of music the band attained a level of spontaneity seldom heard in their more ambitious recordings. No time is wasted on superfluous gestures: once an idea is played out, the song stops.

Don't bother listening for any narrative or thematic continuity. Each piece is a stand-alone unit, collectively flowing together very well. The wordless voices on "Day Two" and elsewhere add a celestial halo to the usual twin-guitar textures. And the gentle, Fripp-like sustains of "Day Three" provide a magical counterpoint to the mundane audio-vérité discussion of the cost to repair a busted transmission: the earthbound dialogue intersecting sharply with the soaring harmonics.

There was always an element of cinematic drama to the music of Explosions in the Sky. And this modest album, brief as it is, could have been a warm-up to the band's later soundtrack sessions. The album is no longer offered as a freebie on their website, but by all means stop by the merchandise table at your next EitS concert and pick up a copy. Support a worthy cause, and reward yourself with some worthwhile music.

Report this review (#1178749)
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2014 | Review Permalink

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