Alright folks, hold on to your seats because this one is going to get wild. Allow me to introduce you to Alters, an extremely interesting band from Poland. Nominally, their thing is a blend of progressive rock and post rock. The progressive parts take a very distinct influence from one Steven Wilson, with the opening tracks to their most recent album, Dawn, sounding a lot like Porcupine Tree. "Hypnagogia" and, even more so, the self-titled track which open the album have all the unique identifiers you'd associate with this style of progressive rock. The drums are loud, the vocalist seems aloof and depressed, the guitars are influenced by classic progressive rock but with an exceedingly modern sound. So far, so good; things are pleasant and well made, if not totally original or mind-blowing. The third track, "Klechdawa", starts in the same manner. Indeed, it goes on in that manner until its mid-point. But then, there's a break and everything changes.
Looking at the influences that made Soldat Hans happen sheds a bit more light on where the band members come from when approaching these issues; many of the acts listed below tap into this same desire to feel, face and excise such emotions in a healthy and productive way. Especially noteworthy is the wide range of artists presented below. Most of them have some melancholic or even depressive edge but they take different approaches in expressing these edges. Thus, we get a glance into how a diverse sound such as Soldat Hans was forged and the many places in other music from which it came. Enjoy and don't forget to spin Es Taut when you feel up to it; it's a ride you should experience at least once.
In a sense, trying to get my meaning across with these opening paragraphs is more akin to post rock than I'd thought. And that's what I'd like to leave you with before we dive into this month's picks: we don't make this list just to showcase our taste or highlight great bands (although the latter is a big part of it, for sure). We also do it because we feel like post rock is an important genre with important things to say, things which relate to the basic human condition, our hopes, dreams, failures and expectations of the world us. So as you go deeper into this post, try asking yourself what emotions, modes of thoughts and perspectives is this mostly instrumental music trying to get across to me? What is being communicated by and underneath the music I am listening to?
As anyone following the blog might by now know, I have a special place in my heart for the marriage between electronic music and post rock. Something about the lush textures of synths, expansive guitars and the "bright melancholy" of post rock just works incredibly well. A fine example of that is Aesthesys, a Russian band with a host of releases behind them who are now gearing up for their sophomore full length, Achromata. They blend strings, a sense of wonder and post rock sensibilities into one energetic whole, drawing obvious but necessary comparisons to 65daysofstatic but also This Patch of Sky and world's end girlfriend. Head on down below to hear the opening track from the upcoming release, "Grauer Wald"!
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.
When TesseracT’s Daniel Tompkins decided to explore his own pet project by joining forces with Skyharbor’s Keshav Dhar and Randy Slaugh to create White Moth Black Butterfly, it began as a modest attempt to explore some ideas that diverged from the type of rock for which his main band is most known. 2013’s One Thousand Wings (here’s what we had to say about “Certainty” from that album) was a sonic departure, to be sure, but it still maintained something of a kinship with its flagship influences. As with anything that we’ve come to understand about Tompkins, he will expound upon ideas over time and so the re-emergence of this project in 2017 means we should expect a few new twists, turns, and embellishments on the sound he helped to create several years ago.