What is the secret of a good crescendo? Asked differently, why does the tried and true, some might say "played out", trope of post-rock fail for 99% of bands who attempt it while it succeeds magnificently for those rare, and excellent, few bands that employ it? There are probably many answers to this question but mine lies in the moments which come after it. If the point of the crescendo is to achieve catharsis, then surely how the band handle themselves in the moments after it has passed, when the heart has time to reflect on the catharsis and its wake, is what decides whether the musical passage was effective.
Portugal's indignu are a fantastic example of this and of many other "solid" post-rock fundamentals besides. "Sempre que a partida vier" (loosely translated as "whenever farewell comes"), which I am extremely excited to premiere here today, is a masterclass in these fundamentals and, eventually, in the power of well executed contemplation after the crescendo's fact. You can hear how the entire track builds up towards the crescendo with all of its parts, not just the "actual" build-up right before the crash. The beautiful, solemn strings which dominate the first half of the track, the delicate yet present percussion which backs them up, and the contemplative guitars, are all pieces on the board, lines in a painting, drawing our emotional eyes towards the track's culmination and the heart's burgeoning.
indignu are patient and, slowly and with measure, build up these elements and elaborate on them, creating more and more complexities as the track's run-time progresses. You can find in these structures mostly comparisons to Mono and that legendary band's ability to construct careful, musical edifices and indignu are no different; every step of the way is carefully measured and planned. Until, finally and with great and majestic fanfare, the track arrives at its culmination, sparking the kind of joyous, boisterous musical exclamations for which I had first fallen in love with post-rock. Calling to mind bands like Years of Rice and Salt or Wang Wen, this crescendo does not stay for long but delivers its emotional payload and swiftly makes way for the track's closing passage to fulfill its cycle. And just in case you think I'm making all of this up, here's what the band had to say about "Sempre que a partida vier":
"The song is about the silences and the intensity of a goodbye. It is a long way that inhales and exhales, breathes throughout various moments of a relationship, whatever it may be. In the end, it represents a whirlwind of feelings, from serenity to the climax of emotion.
If this premiere seems overly long, then know that it is only because I have fallen deeply, deeply in love with adeus, set for release on November 4th, from which this track comes from. It is every bit as lovely as this track and, if you like post-rock in any capacity, you'd be doing yourself an injustice not to pre-order it. Farewell, whenever it might come!