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POST ROCK/MATH ROCK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Post Rock/Math rock definition

POST-ROCK:

The term post-rock was coined by Simon Reynolds in issue 123 of The Wire (May 1994) to describe a sort of music "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbres and textures rather than riffs and powerchords."

Originally used to describe the music of such bands as Stereolab, Disco Inferno, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis and Pram, it spread out to be frequently used for all sorts of jazz- and Krautrock-influenced, instrumental, electronica-added music made after 1994. Bands from the early 1990s such as Slint, or earlier, such as Talk Talk were influential on this genre. As with many musical genres, the term is arguably inadequate: it is used for the music of Tortoise as well as that of Mogwai, two bands who have very little in common besides the fact that their music is largely instrumental.

The aforementioned Tortoise was among the founders of the movement. After the second Tortoise LP Millions Now Living Will Never Die, the band became a post-rock icon. After Millions... many bands (e.g., Do Make Say Think) began to record, inspired by the "Tortoise-sound" and were often described as post-rock.

In the late nineties, Chicago, Illinois, became the home base of many different groups. John McEntire (of Tortoise) became an important producer for lots of them, as well as Jim O'Rourke (of Brice-Glace, Gastr del Sol and many more). Post-rock began to range from the slow, guitar-based ambience of Boxhead Ensemble to the up-tempo electronica of Stereolab.

Montreal, Quebec band Godspeed You Black Emperor! - later renamed 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' - brought a political element with anti-globalization movement leanings.

By the early 2000s, the term had started to fall out of favor, while the major artists kept on making high quality recordings. The wide range of styles covered by the term had robbed it of its usefulness almost from the moment it was coined.

Closely related to post-rock is the genre known as Math rock, characterized by more percussive timbres, and more dissonant harmonic gestures.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Post-rock".



MATH ROCK:

Math Rock is a genre that emerged in the late 80's and that was influenced by both the intricacies of progressive and avant-garde rock - King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Henry Cow - and 20th century composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage. The music is characterized by complex structures, angular melodies and constant abrupt changes in tempo and time signature. The name Math Rock is a term that grew out of the Chicago scene and the artists working with engineer Steve Albini in an effort to describe the new style.

The basic building blocks of Math Rock can be traced back to the late 60's and 70's where Progressive Rock artists were making more elaborate compositions than the standard rock bands and were experimenting with song structures. Early Avant-garde groups like Massacre, and artists such as Captain Beefheart and John Zorn were highly influential to Math Rock bands and traces of their music can still be heard throughout the genre. Another big influence to the Math Rock approach was Slint with their album "Spiderland" which showcased many techniques that Math Rock bands will follow in the future. Punk also had significant impact on the sound of Math Rock bands. Other notable influences are: Post-Rock, Heavy Metal, and Jazz.

Although there are Math Rock bands in different countries around the world, most reside in the United States, the Midwest in particular, and tend to be divided by regions: Pittsburgh bands (Don Caballero, Six Horse) Chicago bands (Shellac, U.S. Maple), Ohio bands (Keelhaul, Craw) Louisville bands (June 44, Rodan, The For Carnation, Crain), and San Diego bands (Drive Like Jehu, Tristeza) among others on both coasts. Japan was also an important country in the Math Rock genre with bands like Ruins and Zeni Geva.

POST/MATH ROCK TEAM MEMBERS:
Zravkapt (Darryl)
Kelvin (LearsFool)
Audun(The Bearded Bard)
Angelmk (Angel)
The Truth (Tanner)
Austin (Horizons)
Jason (Second Life Syndrome)

Post Rock/Math rock Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Post Rock/Math rock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.31 | 73 ratings
RANDOM AVENGER
Magyar Posse
4.26 | 77 ratings
CHILDREN OF GOD
Swans
4.14 | 527 ratings
ÁGÆTIS BYRJUN
Sigur Rós
4.13 | 535 ratings
LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.20 | 52 ratings
FOR LONG TOMORROW
Toe
4.16 | 69 ratings
SOUNDTRACKS FOR THE BLIND
Swans
4.08 | 390 ratings
F# A# ∞
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.28 | 27 ratings
KING NINE
Blueneck
4.09 | 181 ratings
ENTER
Russian Circles
4.07 | 248 ratings
SHADOWS OF THE SUN
Ulver
4.28 | 24 ratings
VIXIT
Battlestations
4.30 | 19 ratings
HOW LONELY SITS THE CITY
Ascent Of Everest, The
4.07 | 83 ratings
CODENAME: DUSTSUCKER
Bark Psychosis
4.06 | 98 ratings
ONE TIME FOR ALL TIME
65DaysOfStatic
4.04 | 137 ratings
ULVER & TROMSØ CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: MESSE I.X - VI.X
Ulver
4.12 | 45 ratings
PHANTASIA
Lite
4.06 | 79 ratings
THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE
Battlestations
4.04 | 133 ratings
IN A COLD EMBRACE
Battlestations
4.15 | 33 ratings
BEAUTIFUL
About Tess
4.03 | 146 ratings
BERGTATT - ET EEVENTYR I 5 CAPITLER
Ulver

Post Rock/Math rock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Post Rock/Math rock experts team

WIDOW
Day For Airstrikes
JINX
Kammerflimmer Kollektief
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Daturah
I AM YOUR BASTARD WINGS
Eksi Ekso

Latest Post Rock/Math rock Music Reviews


 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 96 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars One thing that GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR cannot be accused of and that would be that this Montreal based post-rock band has glutted the market with product. Unless of course you count the many splinter groups that have emerged in its wake. While GODSPEED was at the top of their post-rock game all throughout the 90s and turn of the millennium, after "Yanqui U.X.O," the band waited an entire decade for a followup but got back into the swing of things with a mere three year wait for "Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress." While a band like GODSPEED is utterly unpredictable as to when and if a new product will emerge, the band surprised even the most loyal fans by releasing another album a mere two years after the previous, a record for this band that takes their sweet time to craft their next move at least in modern times.

LUCIFERIAN TOWERS is the sixth full-length album and came with a list of demands for the press release which included an end to foreign invasion, an end to borders, the total dismantling of the prison?industrial complex, healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right and the expert f.u.c.k-ers who broke this world never get to speak again. Despite the rather ominous album title, GODSPEED have changed their sound substantially from the overtly ominous to a more melodic major chord dominated form of post-rock that offers the same chamber rock effects in military march fashion but eschewed the lengthy drones, cloud covered sky gloom and doom and detached apathy that have deftly adapted as their alone with the signature mood setting staples on their albums of yore. Dare i even say this album evokes a sense of self-empowerment and optimism.

While the band has existed in a sort of suppressed victim mentality that lashes out in a stream of sonic rebellion, GODSPEED have found a new sense of duty and rather than lamenting about the injustices of the world have finally found the inner resolution to make the demands of the change that has been desired all along. Perhaps due to the fact that many of the members exist in a communal style of living with families who invoke a new sense of responsibility and pave the way for the realization that we, of course, are the saviors we've been waiting for all along. LUCIFERIAN TOWERS provides a bridge between the sense of helplessness and despair with the more empowering stance of having had enough and taking the power back through sheer will power.

Musically speaking, this is unmistakably GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR that attacks the senses like an orchestral swarm of bees as violins pierce the soul, waltz time signatures march rank and file into eternity and organ and synth atmospheres still cover the sun but offer breaks in the cloud cover to offer the glimmering hope of the rays of sun. Also gone are any field samplings and therefore the musical trajectory slides gently through glissando glazed gallantry in a post-apocalyptic society that has had the blueprints of reconstruction suddenly beamed down from benevolent spiritual forces from another realm. While dual drumming action provides a healthy percussive spinal column of the otherwise atmospheric procession into anarchic declarations, the musical mindset is more one of placid calming acceptance of the cosmic cards drawn and the inner fortitude of how to proceed with the next logical plans of action.

GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR successfully delivers another emotionally fueled collection of musical tracks that unite to create yet another soundtrack to life and with a shorter time run that constitutes a mere single album instead of the whopping double album monstrosities of the past. LUCIFERIAN TOWERS downplays the escapist downtime and focuses on the swirling melodies that evoke a sense of action rather than one of pacifistic stupor. While many view GODSPEED! as only an apocalyptic whirlwind tour de force of nature with their chamber post-rock intricacies, LUCIFERIAN TOWERS displays a different side of the band and how their idiosyncrasies can easily adapt to the more optimistic realms of self-empowerment. Hopefully this is a completely new chapter for GODSPEED! that finds no end in the foreseeable future.

 Unreleased/Unreleasable Volume 2 by 65DAYSOFSTATIC album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Unreleased/Unreleasable Volume 2
65DaysOfStatic Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars This is the 2nd volume of Unreleased and Unreleasable tracks recorded by 65daysofstatic. This one was released in 2005, 2 years after the first volume, and like the 1st volume, it contains remixes and mash-ups of songs originally recorded by popular artists (hence the reason they were unreleasable) and in turn recorded by the band before the release of their debut album "The Fall of Math". This time, however, there are also some alternate versions remixed by other artists of 65daysofstatic's tracks from the debut album.

Also, as on the first volume, the music is a mix of post rock guitars with a lot of electronics. This was the band's sound before their debut album and it would also become the direction they would take later with their post rock sound, adding a lot of electronics to it.

This volume starts with "Don't Kill Me" which is a remix of the song "Don't Tell Me" by Avril Lavigne. The track takes a portion of Lavigne's song and wreaks havoc with it electronically. This is followed by "Natasha Beats the Devil", another remix this time from an original track by Natasha Bedingfield. Electronic beats are added, a portion of the chorus is repeated and the accompaniment is a distorted string/synth sound. It gets a little annoying by the end. Yet another remix of Christine Aguillera's track "Dirty" called "30 Seconds of Pure Heaven" follows this, but it is quite short and it quite efficiently destroys the track.

Next follows an original 65daysofstatic track called "Crystal Splinters, City Skies". This one is pretty much a synth/electronic track with some post rock guitars mixed towards the back of this track which gets rather noisy at times. Next is "F*cking with Pillheads", another original electronic track that features samples of various things, including Bruce Springsteen singing "65" again. The samples are quite funny and the track is quite sarcastic.

"It's Guy Time" is a hilarious remix of "Senora" by Justin Timberlake. The vocals are quite warped and the track is completely wrecked. "Uplifting Chart Trance" is another remix of a trance track "Sandstorm" by Darude, with other funny samples. "Feels Like Ecstacy" is a remix of "My Little Fantasy" a disco song by 4 Tune Fairtytales. This one gets totally destroyed.

"65's Hole Sea Shanty Remix" does sound like a bunch of sailors singing when it starts, and the band does all kinds of electronic treatments to it and even tries to get their signature post rock sound wrapped around it by the end of the track. "Aren't We All Running" is a remix done by Feedle, otherwise know as Graham Clarke. The original track is one of 65daysofstatic's tracks from "The Fall of Math". This one is reconstructed quite extensively, and almost unrecognizable.

"Fix the Sky a Little" is another original by the band, again remixed by Digitonal, this time Feedle's vocals are added right at the end of the track. This time the original track has been made quite ambient and pensive. The album ends with an alternative version of "Massive Star At the End of Its Burning Cycle". The original track has been processed and manipulated quite extensively with sudden dynamic changes.

As with the first volume, there are some funny remixes and some interesting heavy electronic treatments throughout. This one isn't any better than the last one, and pretty much is one that will be fun for the fans. However, I think that it would appeal to lovers of heavily treated and manipulated music, so, like the first volume, it gets 3 stars.

 Unreleased/Unreleasable Volume 1 by 65DAYSOFSTATIC album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Unreleased/Unreleasable Volume 1
65DaysOfStatic Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a collection of rare, unreleased material recorded before 2003 and before the release of their first album 'The Fall of Math'. It was only sold at 65daysofstatic concerts between 2003 ' 2005. The band is a post rock group, but before officially releasing any records, they recorded several mash-ups and remixes of other artists, and most of these tracks are among those recordings. They started out as a band driven by guitars, but as they developed, they added in more and more electronic effects until the music was driven by electronics.

This album has some interesting recordings that are not available elsewhere. It starts out with 'Assault on Precinct 65' which is a remix of John Carpenter's soundtrack music from the 1976 film of the same name. The music is electronic and it recreates the music from the film with some nice effects. It starts out quite symphonic but reverts to more electronic effects and sound snippets from the movie. Very nice remix.

'I am Robot' is more of an original track with electronics and guitars mixed. The percussion is pretty much handled by electronics. There are samples from Sage Francis' 'Mullet' mixed through the track. It has a hip hop vibe, but with hints of post rock in the guitars. It utilizes dynamics quite well and is a surprisingly good track.

''' is a short track with samples from 'Deftones' and 't.A.T.u.'. It is a very heavy mash-up interrupted by some funny comments by Avril Lavigne about music.

'Face of the Earth (Clinging On To)' is a remix of the same song from 'The Dismemberment Plan'. It places a fairly poppy song in front of some heavy beats and static and includes some of the vocals from the song with other vocals layered underneath and on top of each other.

'Born Apart' is a great mash-up of Joy Divisions 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and Underworld's 'Born Slippy'. The music is very processed and mixed over heavy beats. Some great effects are done with the original vocals.

'Everything We Talked About Yesterday' finally settles in to a 6+ minute track of original electronic music and post rock guitars. This is the type of music the band would become famous for and, even though it is a little rough in the mix which can make things seem too chaotic at times, it is still a refreshing take on post rock. It actually sounds almost like a remix of one of their own tracks, but I'm not sure about that.

'Default This' is another very short original track. It is a conglomeration of beats and electronic effects.

'Twentyfourtwelve' features the band The Tingler, who I don't know much about. It starts as a nice, simple piano and has electronic effects and field recordings scattered all over. After the words 'Christmas is cancelled!' it turns to a slow guitar melody with 2 guitars and bass playing. This one is actually quite nice. Soon, electronic effects start coming in again, then fade, and then come back with a vengeance. Somehow, we end on a solo piano again. 'My Hometown' is not shown on the track list, but it is a remix of Bruce Springsteen's song of the same name. It's pretty much the original song surrounded by mostly subdued electronic sounds and effects. Later, they mess around with the track and fade out on a skipping record of Bruce singing 'In 65, In 65, In 65'.' over and over.

With nine tracks, this is only a 27 minute album, so it probably qualifies more as an EP. For being early tracks, they are well produced, but there are issues with extremely heavy mixing at certain parts that distract from everything, so there are issues. The tracks are nothing else if not interesting, but nothing really outstanding. The album is fun and entertaining, but has little to offer in the way of being progressive. But it does hint to the direction the band would take in mixing electronics with post rock guitars. I doubt if anyone be interested in this much unless you are a big fan, but for those that are, it is a fun collection.

 Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.08 | 100 ratings

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Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Originally, I wanted to give it a harsh one star but after several listens, there is a certain music quality in this - bleak motives, a beautiful acoustic (and only one) passage in the first song.

The albums suffers from being a parody and most importantly - from having a terrible sound - you actually only hear a voice, a guitar and a few drums.

Thankfully, Ulver abandonen this low quality output after this album and improved the sound. For a conventional black metal fan, this is at least an average album, for a progressive fan it is an antonym of progressive music, therefore 2 stars only.

 Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.03 | 146 ratings

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Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Ulver starts young and already ambitious! Looking for a black metal album that will inspire you to listen to other music styles such as beautiful acoustic music, folk traditions and progressive rock landscapes? Do you want to experience the melancholic winter in the northern Norway while sitting in your armchair at home without having to open your eyes? Then you are the right place!

Bergtatt serves as a phenomenal standout album praised by almost all fan circles - black metal purists, progressive metal/rock open minds, Viking metal fans. The album is well balanced with its soft passages and brutal raw black metal blasts. The music is not very complex but compositionally remarkable and shows that the young lads have listened to something before recording this.

The restrained mood starts with the melodic first song. Worth mentioning are good vocal harmonies and Opeth-like riffing in the second part.

A short beautiful Genesis-like intro produced by flute and acoustic guitar follows and then we're thrown into shrieks and crueless blasts with interesting vocal lines in the background.

The third track "Braablick Blev Hun Vaer" also has a short acoustic intro before exploding into a simple black metal pattern but the menacing chords after a minute have a deep effect and don't get scared by a thunder! ;-) The beautiful pattern that displays a human being walking in a snow, became a popular pattern for the Viking metal bands - here it is accompanied by a classical piano that does not suit the overall concept though. The chord structure that follows is less menacing than in the previous part.

The next song predates the future music orientation on the second album - vocals supported by minimalist guitars. Female support adds to the colour.

The last epic track "Bergtatt-Ind I Fjeldkamrene" features beautiful soft acoustic solo that must have been heard by Mikael Akerfeldt before "Morningrise". The chords are dark and if I can hear well, there are even brass instruments used to a great supporting effect. The storm lasts for a few minutes before the acoustic outro with nature's sound closes this masterpiece.

Even though this album won't be liked by a conventional proghead, I have to attribute it 5 stars as a masterpiece of progressive black metal. There only four similar good releases to my knowledge - one album each by Borknagar, Enslaved and Agalloch.

 In Cinema by ODDARRANG album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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In Cinema
Oddarrang Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars I noticed by accident that this Finnish group has been added here. No reviews or even ratings yet, so here's one for their third album. Six tracks out of seven are composed by the frontman Olavi Louhivuori, who's primarily a drummer but plays here also piano, synths and harmonium. Other musicians are Osmo Ikonen (cello), Lasse Sakara (guitars), Ilmari Pohjola (trombone, guitar) and Lasse Lindgren (bass, synth; the composer of 'Quiet Steps'). Oddarrang's music is instrumental, ambient-oriented and very difficult to categorize, operating in the boundary-free area between ambient music, Post-Rock, jazz and modern art music.

According to the album review in Helsingin Sanomat, "In Cinema is based on mute short films by four young directors, to which Louhivuori composed the music. The black & white front cover picture of shoreline birches in the morning mist is nevertheless referential, even though the slowly evolving and thematically captivating tracks are mostly melancholic. The unique sound of Oddarrang is still defined especially by Osmo Ikonen's cello and Ilmari Pohjola's trombone, but with Lasse Sakara's louder electric guitar parts the overall atmosphere is grander and rockier".

The spatial sound could be compared to instrumental music of artists such as Supersilent, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois or Jon Hassell. 'Self-portrait' is at first very soft and slow before the cello, guitar, percussion and other instruments become gradually more intensive. However this sort of stronger dynamics is not very central on the album, which remains pretty introspective all the way. Three tracks are 10-11 minutes in length while others are about five minutes. That makes the whole both more "progressive" in a certain way (not speaking of progressive rock as we think of it) and more meditative. Perhaps also Jade Warrior at its calmest may come to mind, remembering though that there is also the unmistakable Post-Rock feel to Oddarrang's cinematic music.

This music is not suitable for unfocused casual listening or for those who expect higher degree of prog rock attitude in arrangements and compositions -- feelings of impatience and frustration would surely appear. But for concentrated, relaxed and open-minded listening this will offer food for the mind's eye. The slow and spacey approach makes the sonic texture itself the main thing (or in other words, the journey, not arriving somewhere), and in that sense this album has lots of beauty to offer, even if one misses some more edginess and dynamics.

 Valley of the Giants by VALLEY OF THE GIANTS album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 15 ratings

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Valley of the Giants
Valley of the Giants Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Valley of the Giants' is the name of a band and their only album released in 2004. The group was sort of a post rock supergroup consisting of members that mostly come from the Constellation recording label. It consisted of Sophie Trudeau of 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' and 'A Silver Mt. Zion', Brendan Canning of 'Broken Social Scene' and 'hHead', Charles Spearin also of 'Broken Social Scene' and 'Do Make Say Think', and several other members.

The music is mostly instrumental, mostly of a post rock style, but mixing cinematic western styles that give the music a 'spaghetti western' vibe, along with world music and folk music aspects. It all generates a very interesting sound unique from most post rock bands.

'Claudia and Klaus' starts out with an acoustic guitar and a fiddle with a side of lapsteel guitar to creating a sparse and desert landscape. The acoustic guitar provides the melody with the violin bowing a chord that only changes slightly.

'Westworld' starts with an electric guitar playing a melody and this time, percussion steps in to provide a slow walking pattern. This one has lyrics sung beautifully by Deidre Smith and the vocals take you by surprise if you aren't expecting them, but they are definitely welcome. Trudeau plays along with her violin contributing a lovely countermelody to the sung melody. At around the 4 minute mark, a rapidly played guitar provides the post rock sound and intensity builds as the drums becoming more wild and wordless vocals start. Things calm during the last minute. This reminds me of the band 'Gregor Samsa' which is a great thing.

'Cantara Sin Guitarra' starts with a field recording of a mariachi band, then an acoustic guitar plays a lovely Spanish serenade with classical overtones. Soon, what sounds like struck piano strings join in with some sparse percussion. There are also some great effects in there that sound almost like wind gusts blowing through the dust. The violin provides a melody around 3 minutes, and you get the world music vibe (sort of a gypsy feel) in the middle of the American desert. Very nice! Soon a trumpet joins in creating some dissonance, and a piano playing improvised arpeggios as the whole thing turns into a procession like we've been transported to Mardi Gras.

'Beyond the Valley' combines piano and a strange keyboard sound in an almost ambient start. A slight percussive sound turns this all into a 'cowboy riding across the plains' style strut. The rhythm stops at 3:30 and subdued guitars start to create an unsettling atmosphere, and suddenly stronger guitar chords come in and percussion builds again. A warbling organ creates a sort of drone deep underneath as intensity between guitars and a screeching violin increase. Tempo slowly increases, but it all eventually turns into a frenzy of sound (as if our cowboy was swept up in a tornado) which finally starts to dissipate slowly at the 9 minute mark.

'Waiting to Catch a Bullet' is another 10 minute track starting with a guitar drone and a lone violin which is joined by a sparse acoustic guitar. They create a slow boil of a track as the song continues with only some occasional percussive noises. This one stays psychedelic and experimental creating atmosphere more than anything else as it meanders slowly along. It's sort of like wandering in the desert sand in the hot sun. Some might think this goes on too long, but it does paint a desolate picture that you can get lost in.

'Whaling Tale' is kind of an odd duck on this album. After the long desert trek, we come to the shore. There is a spoken word narration on this one provided by John Seck, who also played the flamenco guitar in the 3rd track. This one takes us to the ocean, as per the title. The narrator has a sailor's accent as he tells his tale. Underneath it all is an ambient bass combined with atmospheric keyboards. Other effects come and go. Where the previous track painted a nice picture, this one in my opinion does go on too long, and the album loses its strength in this strange track that seems totally out of place.

'Back to God's Country' starts with a soft lone guitar, but soon gets more abrasive as another guitar joins in. This one definitely has that post rock sound as things build in intensity and tempo speeds up. When you feel like things might spin out of control, everything drops off to some sparse squeaky trumpet, percussion and guitar. Intensity builds again. Chaos follows. This one really reminds me of that GY!BE sound as tension builds and releases except for that unique trumpet that is in the mix.

'Bata Bay Inn' ends the album. This one starts off quietly with echoing metallic sounds and a peaceful guitar with occasional piano notes. Soft percussion and vocals from Deidre Smith start after 2 minutes. Everything stays peaceful and soft throughout. The violin playing in a high register is beautiful in the instrumental break, almost sounding like a harmonica. Then, another surprise as other singers join in about'.well 'smoking that s*!t and getting your mind right'. A nice humorous ending.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable and varied post rock album that adds a lot of that western atmosphere with other surprises throughout. Except for a few drawn out tracks, this is an excellent album which almost gets a 5 star rating. It is a pleasant change of pace from the usually heavy and dark sounds of post rock, and the music ventures out and stretches the boundaries of the genre in ways that you don't expect, and that makes this album exceptional. 'Whaling Tale' is just awkwardly out of place on here, and 'Waiting to Catch a Bullet' stretches on a little too long. Other than that, this is a 4.5 star album that just barely missed being essential.

Still, I highly recommend this album especially if you love post rock, or if you love that cinematic western sound. This is definitely essential for post rock lovers who want to hear their boundaries stretched into new directions.

 Valtari by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.22 | 121 ratings

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Valtari
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After an indefinite hiatus, Sigur Ros finally returned with their 6th full length album "Valtari (Roller)". There were several times during the hiatus that they started working on a new album, and after a few starts and stops, recording new material and throwing it away because they were not satisfied, they finally came out with this album which focused on a more ambient sound than before. Instead of trying to describe what the songs were about on this album, Sigur Ros decided to let the listener interpret the music on this album in their own personal ways. They picked the title of this album because they felt that the music slowly rolled over the listener. You should go into this expecting a very ambient and peaceful album.

The first track is "Eg anda (I Breathe)". It starts out with a piano repeating a short, hymn-like melody, with other instruments entering and eventually Jonsi starts to sing. The ambient feel is apparent off the bat, but this one is very reminiscent of some of Sigur Ros' best material, sparse and beautiful, that boils slowly and has a slightly unsettling feel underneath all of the music. Later, a high pitched vocal that sounds somewhat processed stays mostly in the background.

"Ekki Mukk (Not a Sound)" is less melodic than the first and more meandering. It remains ambient most of the way through with a slight build a little over halfway through where shimmering beauty becomes the focus and then it calms to a very slow and quiet pace. It flows into "Varuo (Caution)" which starts with a keyboard playing an arpeggio pattern and Jonsi's subdued meandering higher register. Sustained bowed notes begin a crescendo with a slow changing chord pattern as things intensify. The keyboard changes to a piano in a higher register as bowed guitars reach the top of the crescendo, then things calm quickly. This one is quite repetitive as it is based on the same pattern throughout.

"Rembihnuter (Tight Knot)" starts with a subdued tribal rhythm with atmospheric guitars which quickly go into a melodic pattern. Jonsi starts to sing a fairly repetitive melody and alternates with the guitars for the lead on this song. After 3 minutes, an organ takes over when the rhythm stops with a subdued drone in the background. Soon, Jonsi starts the melody again and percussion starts again. This one is quite a bit more simplistic and melodic and not as immersive as the other tracks so far.

"Dauoalogn (Dead Calm)" is a track that was actually written in 2009 (this album was released in 2012). This has a very slow beat and a minimal sustained melody. Jonsi's vocals are in his higher register with a sustained echo giving his singing a far away feel. Except for a few very short bursts of dynamics, it remains minimal and calming throughout with an expansive yet desolate vibe. Around 8 minutes, things really start to open up with an almost sudden increase in intensity with organ and guitars creating a beautiful climax.

"Varoeldur (Campfire)" is also an older song written in 2009 and is an alternative version of "Luppulagio" from the "Inni" album. It features a constant slow rhythm with a quick build at the beginning which quiets for the vocals. Bowed guitars build a heavy, but not quite monstrous sound which calms about halfway through. The guitars continue an unsettling vibe under the vocals which push it forward to another build. At 6:30, a sudden increase in loudness and a theme is created with the guitars which carries the track to the end.

"Valtari (Roller)" is the minimalistic title track. Again, this is a very slow burn with a lot of ambient atmosphere and sleepy vocals. Layered organ and guitars remain shimmering and almost dronelike. "Fjogur Piano (Four Pianos)" takes old unused material and loops it into an atmospheric track.

The Japanese release also had 2 bonus tracks. "Logn" is completely ambient using electronic drones and vocal loops in an 8+ minute track. This is mostly just a relaxing soundscape without a lot of development. "Kvistur" runs 5 and a half minutes and is another experimental soundscape, this time with a lot of dissonant noise and ambience. The bonus tracks are okay if you love ambient and experimental music, but the best tracks are on the regular album.

This album is different than most of their other albums in that it is very atmospheric and ambient. If you don't like that type of music, then you probably will be disappointed in this album, but I find it very relaxing and peaceful. It is true that it is not one of their best, but there is still a lot to discover in this album, it just takes more time and effort. There is still plenty of beauty found within it's tracks. 4 stars.

 This Great Distance by ARAMID album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
This Great Distance
Aramid Post Rock/Math rock

Review by flyingveepixie

— First review of this album —
4 stars 'Aramid' is the brainchild of Bryan Bulmer, who previously was one half of the Prog/indie duo 'Wolves in Aramid' which he formed with his good friend Dylan Faltisco soon after the two started writing music together in 2010.

' This Great distance' is a fully instrumental album of relatively short tracks (10 in total) - the shortest timing at 4.09 minutes and the longest at 7.34 minutes. It is Bryans second solo work, and in his own words :

'I took inspiration from the nature around me. The water and mountains in this region tie a lot of my memories and thoughts together, so I themed the album to that concept. It follows the flow of water out to sea, and the songs relate to important places, events, or hopes in my life. The map included with the Bandcamp download will give you some idea of the story, and the coordinates on the cover reference 4 mountains in the Cascades (Garibaldi, Baker, Rainier & St. Helens)'.'

Track listing is as numbered on the map.

Although essentially a guitar album with the amps cranked up to 11 on the loudest parts, the massive reverbs and delays which are omnipresent throughout help to maintain the intended sense of ambience, even when the guitars are being thrashed at full volume.

All of the tracks on the album follow a similar format, starting out with a slow burn ambient passage, sometimes with synth pads and/or piano, but often built around a simple guitar riff which eventually builds up to a thrashing crescendo of power before tailing off back into an ambient decay.

In terms of exactly which category this album should be placed is very difficult to say as it covers a range of styles and ideas. It's not prog in the traditional sense of bands like Gentle Giant or Yes, and neither is it prog in the more modern sense of something like Dream Theater, but it is way more than a simple rock album. The term 'Ambient Thrash' often comes to my mind when I'm listening to this music, so maybe that's a good categorical description for it.

There are no filler tracks on the album and each track is a delight to hear : memorable, passionately and skilfully played, and easy on the ear. The inspiration and thoughtfulness which has gone into the composition, performance and production of every track is easily discerned by the listener, and the desired effect of a journey through the wilderness is effortlessly achieved in the music as each track progresses.

I find this album to be both inspiring and uplifting. It will likely remain on my regular playlist probably for as long as I continue to listen to music. It really is that good and I can't recommend it highly enough.

I rate it at 5 stars on a personal level but probably 4 stars for this site as it's more of a prog related album than actual pure prog.

 Vargnatt by ULVER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
2.06 | 21 ratings

BUY
Vargnatt
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Vargnatt' is Ulver's 6-song demo recording, recorded in 1993 during the Norwegian black metal explosion. The demo was released originally with only 200 copies, but has later been remastered and released in 2003 because of the increased interest in Ulver's music. This demo shows Ulver in their rawness, before they began their exploration into almost every type of progressive music. Even the remaster is not very clean or polished.

What the remaster does do is help brings out some of the interesting sounds that were buried in the terrible original recording. Vocals are dirty, as to be expected, and there are times when vocals are sung in a high pitch, and they sound just plain awful.

The first track 'Her Begynner Mine Arr' is all heavy black metal with a few riffs that wander off on their own that actually show a slight penchant for exploration even in those early days. 'Tragediens Trone' starts out interestingly enough and not quite as loud, but that is soon lost in the wall of black noise that explodes. Again vocals are screechy when they are high and annoyingly bad when there are a few attempts to make things melodic. Other than that, there is a lot of growling.

'Trollskogen' sounds completely out of place on here because it is a beautiful acoustic solo. You can hear echoes of their 2nd album, which while considered black metal, is actually more dark gothic folk. There are a few whispered vocals, but this track is mostly instrumental and quite nice, at least on the remastered version. The original version sounds like a bad demo, which is what it is. 'Ulverytternes Kamp' starts off pensive enough with a full band and a mix of electric and acoustic guitars. This hints at some ingenuity in the beginning minute, but when those dirty vocals come in, the metal also kicks in and any chance of hearing any more ingenuity is lost. Towards the end at least, you hear some Black Sabbath style riffs.

'Nattens Madrigal' is the name of the 5th track, and would later become the name of their 3rd black metal album, which incidentally has become quite critically acclaimed and many have said it helped set the bar for some of the loudest black metal. After an atmospheric beginning, a sharp guitar crashes in and begins the havoc again. The vocals are more subdued this time, buried under the noise that is until the high pitched singing starts again. The track, even though it shares the name with that 3rd album, is still very low quality, making it hard to pick out any nuances, even on the remaster. The last track is the title track 'Vargnatt'. It starts with a decent drum riff, soon interrupted by a loud guitar riff and more bad vocals.

These tracks, if they were recorded better, actually have some saving grace to them in that Ulver could have made another decent early album out of them. Those that love black metal at it's most raw and intense should love the remaster. But, be warned, that this is worse than any of their first 3 albums by quite a ways, but if you yearn for more of Ulver's style of black metal, this may help. As for me, it's not my cup of tea, and I only listen to it on few occasions when I want to take a trip through the dynamic universe of Ulver's albums. That is the only interest they hold for me as I am always more eager to get to their better albums. I am a big Ulver fan, but I don't see any redeeming qualities to this demo which should only be of interest to black metal fans and collectors.

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