We just published a taxonomy of post rock to which I wrote the intro. You might have discerned, if it hadn’t hit you like a wrecking ball, that I am somewhat frustrated with a lot of post rock today. Even in the context of these, a series of posts dedicated to the genre, I often start by bemoaning the state of the genre today. And it’s not without reason: a lot of post rock out there is tired and defeatist, satisfied with plowing the same fields which have been tilled by those before them. Therefore, we often call for innovation and experimentation within the genre, for whatever our opinions are worth to recording artists. In the taxonomy post, we opened with tackling the most fundamental sound of the genre, claiming that it still has merit and worth, that not all innovation must lie in the splicing of new sub-genres into the core of post rock. It’s quite possible and, indeed, certain, that you can remain within the confines of that sub-genre and still make music worth listening to, even if you don’t invent the wheel while doing so.
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Well, allow me to introduce you to the proof that lies in the pudding, Goodbye, Titan. We mentioned them in the further listening segment of that same article but that is hardly enough. Their recently released album, Daedelus, is nothing short of a tour de force of everything that cinematic post rock can be. It injects momentum and passion into the staple without resorting to genre variation, instead preferring composition originality and a unique feel. “Man Plus” (an astute reference hiding in its name for the learned in science fiction) is all the introduction you need. The fourteen minute track is everything cinematic post rock should be: it relies on drawn out guitar leads, delay effects and a slowly building crescendo. After the explosion along the three quarters comes a quiet part, softly reiterating on all that came before it. It is a moving track which relies heavily on the sense of wonder and melody which built the foundations of modern post rock.
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But somehow, what would sound like a formula in the hands of other bands is given new varnish here. Perhaps it is because it operates in the context of the rest of the album which has plenty of other unique and captivating moments. “Mynot”, for example, introduces hauntingly beautiful flute, giving the post-crescendo moments of the track a much needed breath of life. “Critical Mass” is a more sleepmakeswaves inspired take on the opening track, with a heavier crescendo and dominant main riff at its end, an ear-worm if there ever was one. In short, it’s just damn good. Sure, it doesn’t break the mold with countless genre innovations but it spends all of that energy inwards. It looks at the foundations of its genre and breathes new strength into them, unflinching in its dedication to those ideals. By adding small embellishments rather than changing whole floors, it speaks with love and cherished nods to the structures that shelter its musical existence.
Go throw some money at them. They deserve it for giving us hope that the pulsing heart of post rock, though it may seem calcified, can still create beauty and grace. Also, while you’re at it, let’s throw in another plug for the amazing post-engineering blog, who were the ones who tipped us off about this album and absolutely deserve your attention if you aren’t already following them.