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Jakob - Cale: Drew CD (album) cover



Post Rock/Math rock

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3 stars Post-rock is an enigmatic genre of music. Eschewing standard song structures, compositions are extended and very much dependent on creating a mood, an atmosphere or space for the listener to engage with. JAKOB do this well, though I have some reservations when comparing them with the greats of the genre.

JAKOB is a New Zealand three-piece that create dark and heavy atmospheric music. I've not listened to their entire catalogue - their music is not all that easy to come by - but, judging by this album, I'll be searching out their other records. Eight ponderous tracks span the gamut from light ('Faye') to the deepest darkness invoked by distorted guitars (the single 'Semaphore' and 'Skew Aard'). At their heaviest they invoke bands like PELICAN and ISIS, but their soundscapes are true post-rock, more sophisticated than their progressive metal peers. The main criticism I'd level at this record is that the tracks are a little too short to fully engulf the listener in their soundscapes. Their buildups are necessarily briefer and less emotional than GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR, the touchstone for this genre, but they can still transport the dedicated listener to another, slightly more disturbing, world.

My favourite moment: the stunningly clean snare that emerges about six minutes into the guitar swirl of 'Jimmy Hoffa'. My pick for outstanding track on the album.

I am new to this band, and credit for introducing me to JAKOB must go to I was fortunate to pick this up from my local iTunes store.

Report this review (#140258)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is stunning. This group's ability to write this increadibly atmospheric dirty and beautiful music, all of these three elements at the same time is what makes this album so mind blowing. The song lengths aren't that long and the buildups don't last that long, though they do exist and play an important role in this music. The album is mixed top-notch, especailly the drums. When the drums kick in at the end of the song Jimmy Hoffa, it gives me goosebumps every time. Oh, and Semaphore.. there are no words to describe it. Get this album, it's a materpiece.
Report this review (#238419)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Any Colour You Like
4 stars When I saw the cover of Jakob's second album Cale:Drew, I was immediately drawn to it. It happens to be an image of a statue and fountain l know of, so it seems that this album was already meant for me.

Jakob is a post-rock band in the vein of GY!BE, that develops seemingly simple ambient music with crisp percussion, delayed guitar riffs and thunderous bass work. The build up for each song is often long and focuses around a simple composition that is apt to explode into a black mass of noise. Each song features a characteristic timbre that ebbs and flows over the course of the song, rising in volume and impetus at will, in quintessential post-rock fashion. There are no vocals as per se, with the exception of a single vocal chant mixed in with soothing guitar tones. The highlight of Cale:Drew is the two track combination of "The Diffusion of Our Inherent Situation", and the outstanding "Semaphore". Both tracks stand as examples of the simple power and emotional hooks Jakob are able to develop. As with any ambient music, it can at times seen ponderous, and some tracks just lack the climax needed to make them more memorable.

Cale:Drew is an unconventionally heavy album, more focused on guitar heavy soundscapes and layered textures than 2006's Solace, which is softer and perhaps more refined sonically. Having seen Jakob live, I can tell you that it is indeed powerful stuff, carefully paced to ensure the raw power of the soundscapes are not lost upon the listener. I cannot but strongly recommend Jakob, and indeed Cale:Drew to any post-rock/metal fan, not to mention any New Zealand prog fans, who have not heard this little known gem of Kiwi music.

4 Stars

Report this review (#257225)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink

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