Post Rock Post – Afformance (Again, again!)

Yes, I know I’ve just written one of these posts where I said I rarely dedicate one to the same band but it’s really not my fault that bands we’ve already covered here keep releasing amazing music. It probably is my fault, however, that the format of these posts didn’t really take that into account. I’ll say a few prayers to a delay pedal in penance. For now, let’s talk about Afformance again. These guys, based in Athens, Greece, peddle in the most cinematic and expansive kind of post rock. Thing is, they make it work, standing high above the cut in the sea of mediocrity that has unfortunately come to categorize this brand of post rock in the past few years. Just last month, they released two albums: Pop Nihilism and Music For Imaginary Film #1 and while the former is just fine the latter is where I’d like to focus today.

 

Imaginary Film, as we’ll call it from now on, is an incredibly atmospheric album which doesn’t misstep once in its quest for a unique ambiance and feel. The covert art is where you should start; Imaginary Film is possessed of exactly the type of scenery it portrays. There is emptiness and more than emptiness, a presence to do with decay and death but also a strange memory of motion, as if something had just gone by. “Sol In the Woods” is a perfect example. It almost feels like we’re listening to the fading footsteps of some great presence as it moves through and away the space we currently inhibit. Unlike previous releases, this track and album lean much closer towards the areas of room ambiance and piano minimalism to achieve this sort of powerful atmosphere.

Instead of tremolo picking or long, delay ridden expanses of soundscape, the piano notes hit hard, echoing through the warm static of the electronics. Later, these pick up alongside the piano, ushering a crescendo but not the one you’d expect from the sub-genre into which we’ve classified this release. The odd, undulating electronics still sound in the back, like something unfurling beyond the music, that same presence towering over the horizon. It’s like 65daysofstatic met Deaf Center somewhere in the middle and they both started painting a picture together (if you’re unfamiliar with the latter, pioneers of minimalism, I recommend you start here but be careful, it’s incredibly sad and moving). All in all, it’s an album which draws you in, envelops you in its complex embrace and leaves you stranded in the center of something being born but already very old.

It’s post rock as it should be. Handle it with care.

Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.