Tag Archives: post rock

Tvesla – Tvesla

Published by:

Tvesla - Tvesla
In the olden days, back when I first started going to local shows, there were a handful of bands that could be found on almost every line-up: Inborn, Sad But True, Mercury, John McAsskill and Kitshickers were pretty much playing at every bigger concert that happened around that time. However, there were also bands that were sprinkled into the mix every now and then in order to make things interesting. One of those bands was Tvesla, a three-piece instrumental band, who played something that I could not get into for the life of me, back then…but times change. After a couple of years on hiatus, the guys are now back with their new self-titled release. I’ll try to give you a few, admittedly short, impressions but I must warn you: this is not the kind of music you write about, because you need to listen and experience it yourself.

These eight tracks can only be described as hypnotic and entrancing. As a matter of fact, they’re fairly repetitive and simple but those two ingredients are, in my opinion, exactly what give this record its intensity and at times disturbing atmosphere. This is not to say that the musicianship is bad or lacking in depth, it just feels like the band deliberately avoided putting in hundreds of parts in one song just to show off, but rather chose to tone down on variation in favor of the entire composition. A formula that works out perfectly in my book.

I’m not entirely sure how people in general feel about post-rock such as this, but at least for me it has to be enjoyed in a live setting. That’s exactly what my biggest concern was when I first dived into these thirty minutes: will it work without that key factor? On my first listen, I feared that it was not possible, because I was walking to work and focusing on other things, the second time I tried in front of the PC while taking care of things around the apartment and the music still failed to grip me entirely. The solution to my problem came to me on my third try: listen to it on headphones while doing little to nothing else on the side. Only then was I able to get into the state of mind to fully embrace the journey.

That’s all I’m going to bore you with, because as I said in my opening paragraph: it’s best to give it a try on your own and make up your own mind. You can do so in a live setting on March 18th at Rotondes, because that’s when Tvesla is going to unleash their new creation! So be sure to head over to Facebook in order to get additional information on that evening, as well as keeping up with the future endeavors of the band!

Kitshickers – Horror Vacui

Published by:

There’s probably no better way to celebrate a 15th band anniversary than with the release of a new album, in this case: Kitshickers‘ new longplayer Horror Vacui featuring 20 new tracks with lots of guest appearances and cryptic song titles. I remember the first time I heard this band was more than 10 years ago, when we still had this weird TV channel called Tango TV and when the Food For Your Senses festival took place in a humid, tiny basement somewhere in Luxembourg. At that time, this 4 piece collective playing chaotic alternative rock had nothing to do with the band we know nowadays.

Horror Vacui, 6th long player of the band, is something in between post rock and sludge, floating among melancholic depressive moods reminding of Mono up to hymnical highlights as if Isis would perform Pink Floyd‘s A Saucerful Of Secrets. Maybe a risky comparison, but you’ll get the idea after listening to the first five instrumental tracks, with Scarred‘s Yogi slamming on the guitar on nfr.

The first vocal appearance happens on the 6th track Lokavibhâga.1, featuring Cosmogon‘s Fabrice Mennuni, who’s got a short but striking commitment. I’d wished for a more aggressive vocal performance, as I know what this bloke is able to do with his growls, but that would not have fit into the concept, I guess.

Speaking of aggressiveness, the songs happen to build up into a multi-layered experience without outbursting into an explosion ergo a big wall of sound, which makes the listening experience even more challenging. The songwriting is diversified and too complex to be considered as boring or generic; plenty of work has been put into these tracks; the only thing that makes me sceptical is the suppressed aggressiveness. Don’t get me wrong but it isn’t until sunya where something really “big” happens in collaboration with Raph from The Majestic Unicorns From Hell, a song that’s got every ingredient of what Kitshickers‘ songwriting is all about; which is this blend between psychedelic world-weariness and simple outrage in one. Or maybe I’m just too stuck on their old album So That’s The Miracle Of Life, one of my personal highlights back in 2006.

Luckily enough, 273K could be described as a highlight for me. It’s sludgy and heavy, straight to the point; and I believe this song could be quite monumental when performed live on stage in combination with the following track buz&jég. I sense something epic on both tracks.

All in all, I have to say that Horror Vacui is NOT a bad album, it just takes its time to unfold its message / beauty. It’s nothing that impresses a distracted listener like me on first pass, but I’m pretty sure that this album can have a different effect once you see Kitshickers perform it live; which will actually happen this Saturday for their release party at the KuFa in Esch. So be there and make up your own opinion about the new album!

Australasia – Sin4tr4

Published by:

Happy new year to all of our dear readers! This may be the right thing to regenerate, in case you had a hard New Year’s Eve. Today we’re having a look at Australasia. No, not the debut album from Pelican, although it seems quite obvious where the two Italians took their name from, also considering the obvious influences.

Influences would already be the catchword to start describing their debut EP: melodic metal parts mixed with classic metal, shoegaze influences, with a pinch of Isis and Pelican, electronic sections with a female humming, blast parts and everything nicely boxed in a 22 minute post-rock creation.

The cassette is being put into the shaft and the short post-rock journey begins. Very warm at the beginning, it very quickly becomes clear that this work is going to be about experimentation and breaks that make room for different styles and tempi. The soft and melodious sections often poor down the river in order to bring the listener to the next metal-like waterfall, escorted by walls of sound, spoken samples and electronic sections.

There’re many things to discover in only 22 minutes, resulting in a multi-variant listening experience. The other side of the medal tells us that this band is still looking for its own identity, sometimes losing its focus while experimenting as much as possible. The love of experimentation often makes the journey a bit bumpy, the listener might be distracted by parts that don’t seem to fit each other. Nevertheless, Sin4tr4 is a very comfortable piece of music, made for the background of short moments of relaxation.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7juxkQvnWw&]

Crippled Black Phoenix – (Mankind) The Crafty Ape & No Sadness Or Farewell (double review)

Published by:

It’s getting winter again, 2012 is coming to an end soon, and damn, I think we forgot something here. It has been a year full of stoner and metal bursts for most of the El Gore scribblers. I personally like to switch a bit into more melodic and progressive music these days, and here we are: Crippled Black Phoenix, a band I love and cheer for their 2010 release I, Vigilante, brought out an LP in the beginning of 2012 and an EP last October! What an idiot I am! Let’s go to work!

(Mankind) The Crafty Ape was released in January this year as a double LP concept album, and I must say, I didn’t like it: too interminable, not enough I, Vigilante. Ignorant me! There is way more progressive and way more Pink Floyd than ever in the work of Crippled Black Phoenix and you have to invest a bit time into it. In fact, the LP turned out to be a grower, although you have to display lots of goodwill when you’re still focused on the 2010 release, which of course is pretty unfair.

The dark and apocalyptic atmosphere continues to be omnipresent although the deepness and the drama (and post-rock elements) make way for many more progressive, psychedelic and also pop experiments. The album’s highlights are often lying between the main hooks, but they aren’t invisible in any way. Synths and samples between the songs, stringed instruments, instrumental parts and especially background choirs singing about Armageddon constitute the typical and lovely Crippled Black Phoenix sound.

Furthermore they also opened the door for more guitars (Laying Traps) and also for Daisy Chapman on the microphone, who sounds more mature than she did when singing Of A Lifetime in 2010. Some songs perfectly find their end and (even more important) their purpose, others are whirring around, not knowing where they belong. Making everything fit with each other is a huge challenge when doing such a long piece of art, a challenge that the group from Bristol sometimes fails. Nevertheless, they still know how to surprise their listeners (King Crimson says hello in Born In A Hurricane), which is an important element and a must do for long progressive outputs. Although I know (and I already wrote it) that it’s unfair to permanently compare this LP to I, Vigilante, one other thing unfortunately has to be mentioned: the vocals in general have lost a lot of energy, which is surely due to the love of experimentation. It is the progressive approach which guides the vibe through the songs this time, the symbiosis between vocals and music seemed more perfect in 2010 though, also compared to the ups and downs on this album.

(Mankind) The Crafty Ape is a very solid LP, which loses its focus sometimes and which again doesn’t reinvent the wheel (Pink Floyd is just the most obvious inspiration, there are many others, most situated in the last 40 years of progressive and rock music). Still, Crippled Black Phoenix still sound fresh and playful and they certainly aren’t just a homage band. In the end it seems that I missed something last winter.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLiR_MT6toQ]
Recommendations: The Heart Of Every Country, Get Down And Live With It, A Letter Concerning Dogheads

October 2012. Crippled Black Phoenix present a new singer besides their new EP (which is already understated considering the 50 minutes running time). Any news or reasons about the changes? Nope. The band from Bristol sometimes is as mysterious as their music is. Let the sounds do the work, not the band history. Good approach.

The opener of No Sadness Or Farewell is nothing but Crippled Black Phoenix at their best. Melodies of the Last Day combined with post rock tunes and no vocals needed at all. However, post rock by no means has become the golden thread again; the band is experimenting with very melodic, songwriting and pop parts. This sometimes arises a feeling of total relaxation and sometimes it kind of disturbs the lovers of old releases (I know, I’m getting unfair again). One way or another, John E. Vistic reveals new possibilities for the Phoenix‘s sound, although this new poppish approach now and then appears to be too theatric and sometimes even a bit kitschy when it comes to my personal taste.

Talking about Miriam Wolf, the new female vocalist, one must say that her performance on the EP is really lovely, bringing another taste of melancholy and great psychedelic parts into the whole farewell concept. Despite all the new influences, the core sound hasn’t really changed, but sometimes accepts an unjustified subordinated role. Jonestown Martin crows with a dramatic monk choir combined with experimental and synthesised vocals, followed by a typical climax joined by even a few electronic tunes. You decide whether the beginning again may be too corny, for the author this is one of the strongest moments of this release.

In the end, there’s the question about “who shall protect us from our protectors”? Who shall protect Crippled Black Phoenix from experimenting too much? Let’s hope that nobody will ever dare it. Although I still miss the deepness and greatness of 2010, this band still is worth a listen after every step they take and still one of the most underestimated post rock, progressive and experimental bands around.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTw_puqDtms]
Recommendations: How We Rock, Jonestown Martin.

So, which of the two 2012 releases is the best? They can’t be compared (standard answer, but it perfectly fits). If you ask for the author’s preference, he would choose (Mankind) The Crafty Ape.

Heartbeat Parade – Burning Nantucket! EP

Published by:

Well, what do we have here? Is it Postrock? Posthardcore? Instrumental Mathrock? Or everything together?

Heartbeat Parade have been causing some noise for over two years now in the Luxembourgish music scene. Their Burning Nantucket! EP gives us a preview of what’s about to happen on their first long player scheduled for later this year. Postrock seems to be fading slowly but surely but this could be declared as one possible logical progression of this style. In fact it combines pretty much everything mentioned above without ever losing its focus.

The good thing is: just like in ‘classic’ Postrock it lets you build up your own world around the song even if the band targets you in a certain direction by using vocal samples from documentary films. Still, the spoken word can mean everything you want in the end, especially because the musical direction leads to different feelings.

The skeptical and aggressive voice is never lost though due to the steady hard- and postcore outbreaks. Electro elements and a solid Mathrock fundament complete this complex tableau. Heartbeat Parade seem to have found a definite line and you can hear that those guys are no newbies in any way, in case you haven’t already known it looking at their portfolio.

Check their homepage for further concert dates.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv8jLh-rpMw]

Crippled Black Phoenix – I, Vigilante

Published by:

No new fresh food on my desk, so let’s talk a little bit about one of my favourite albums of 2010. Be ready for a laudation because I haven’t found much to criticize until this day. Started as a project of a collection of many well or less known post-rock musicians, Crippled Black Phoenix seems to have established itself as a truly independent supergroup with their latest album.

So what’s so special about this work? To be short and figurative: you actually can see the snow falling in the Ardennes in 1944 while the world goes down around you when listening to I, Vigilante. Epic probably is the most overused term these days, but excuse me to use it anyway. It is a post-rock concept album which doesn’t continue the line that has characterized post-rock for the last couple of years. Some may call the development boring, or overplayed. It doesn’t really matter.

Crippled Black Phoenix combines post-rock with elements like vocals and speed changes, which sometimes result in a short rock part, making it more receptive. Moreover they created that sound of Armageddon that keeps floating in your head especially during the cold seasons of the year. The more you listen to it, the more you will discover. Be it strings, wind instruments or piano, or be it the lyrics of the songs, turning each track into a little piece of literature in itself. Lots of people have compared this to Pink Floyd, in my eyes this is just one of many influences to find. The warm and melodious vocals (actually way too rare to find in this genre) top this album off. The front singer, Joe Volk, really amplifies the atmosphere, being rigorous, being sad, sometimes being nothing but wonderful.

The intro of track no. 4, Bastogne Blues, just makes you tremble. What comes afterwards is a great and pessimistic song that represents the whole idea of a grand album, although two songs still follow. Personally, I like to end the listening after Bastogne Blues because it is a perfect closure of this musical doomsday. But let’s be complete: Of a Lifetime, the second to last song, surprises with 80s guitars and a female singer, Daisy Chapman. Although it doesn’t really fit, it sticks in your mind and seems to try to deal with the whole story called life.

Let’s conclude with the last track, a hidden one, called Burning Bridges. It is bizarre, humorously, sad and happy. The song is a cover version (originally performed by The Mike Curb Congregation) of the title song of a 70’s comedy/war movie with Clint Eastwood. Compared to Bastogne Blues this certainly is the ironic end of the story. You decide which one to chose.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHCxKy2xWHs]
Recommendations: Troublemaker, Bastogne Blues.