If it looks like I’m trying to get as many Post Rock Posts in before the year’s end, that might be because I am. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 2017 has been a great year for post rock, especially when made by relatively unknown/young bands. Thus, I wasn’t too surprised when A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters, one of my favorite post rock collectives, announced the eighth volume of their compilations. I excitedly played it shortly after they reached out to me and let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. There’s a lot of great music on there but one artist in particular really jumped out to my ears, The Howl Ensemble. These guys make the type of post rock we’ve all grown to love in the last few years, blended heavily with jazz fusion and math rock. Head on down below to hear a track and we’ll talk more after!
There we go; now isn’t that better? “Cloud”, as is the entirety of 2014’s Prooi, is a complex and multi-layered affair. It starts off in familiar enough way, channeling the above influences from jazz and math rock. But its middle passage is this hollowed out passage, almost like…being inside a cloud! Things drift off towards the drone side of the spectrum, although faint bass, cymbal and guitar work create a rich tapestry inside these echoing sounds. Then, the main ideas and themes of the track slowly build up again, carefully restrained until the listener has had time to be enraptured by their unfolding relationships. The end result is a crescendo that comes late enough to create catharsis but not too late that the build up overstays its welcome.
What else is on Prooi? Too much to accurately retell here; there are crazy, off-kilter passages, there are dreamy meditations and resonant leads. In short, Prooi, even though it was released three years ago, is truly an album of its time, part of the current wave undergoing transformation within the post rock genre. The track from the compilation, “The Hunt”, is off an upcoming release due in 2018, called Patina and seems to indicate a continuing interest in the types of sound that Prooi excelled at (watch out for those playful piano notes, a la The Samuel Jackson Five who are also working on album by the way, get hyped). Thus, our scopes will be set heavily on The Howl Ensemble as the new year gets underway; hopefully Patina comes soon and the momentum of great, technical and intricate post rock can be maintained…forever.