The last year has been one erratic journey for me, musically, of course. Too much or too little of new music, it has always prevented me from actually penning down my interpretation of the music I heard. Caspian’s Waking Season has given me the perfect opportunity to sit back and contemplate, think and write about this album.
I came across this band while surfing through facts about the Caspian Sea. A happenstance, that I probably have been waiting for a really long time. An instrumental undertaking that projects its music in its most basal form, simple structures intertwined within each other, making layers resulting in a rich soundscape.
This album paints a canvas of dull blue beats in the background with bits yellowing highs and reds and blacks of habitué strumming. “Porcellous” with its brooding power and “Akiko” in all her peace together with “Gone in Bloom and Bough” painting a scenic soundscape. This album adheres to the band’s stubbornness on not restructuring on their older songs (which seems like a tough on task in any genre but progressive) and yet I wonder how awful would it be if they did? The band has used a plethora of sounds, of things crashing and smashing, booming drum lines, enigmatic keyboard arrangements and bluesy guitar lines with orchestral vocal “aaahhhh”s. Well placed toned guitars and programmed voices makes this a good production.
Waking Season consists of ten songs which play for roughly an hour in one sitting. This being a dynamic production has its moments where it reminds one of ambles on some moonlit beach. It’s this confusion that is its vice. The songwriting feels rushed seeing how songs become really loud at times (“Halls of Summer”), places where I would much rather have preferred a low melody. But then maybe that’s where the band wanted to create out of the post-rock-cliché bubble. It caters well enough to person already aware of this genre but as far as it being labeled the best post-rock album of last year, it certainly is not. It sounds very much like something I would have expected out of Caspian and hence I was not blown away.
On a scale of 10, a 7 seems appropriate.
Alcest has always been the band to whom I turn when in search of beauty and tranquillity whilst in midst of utter chaos and havoc of the populace. This band has progressively graduated to being of the depressive shoegaze genre with all their music having this ethereal element in them. The new single out “Autre Temps” will not disappoint those of you who search for this very oblivion that I lust for.
The new single is from their third record, due to be released on the 6th of January by Prophecy Productions. “Autre Temps” plays on and on, gets under your skin, seeps deep inside. Neige has done a brilliant work of mixing vocals and instruments. His talent and influence is so easily reflected in the song itself. The sublime beat and the sad lyrics makes one wholly aware of one’s self and yet remotely distant from anything real. For those who get it :
Une prière lointaine que porte le vent du soir
Anime les feuilles dans leur danse alanguie.
C’est le chant des vieux arbres entonné pour toi,
Pour ces bois obscurs maintenant endormis.
Sans nous attendre tant de saisons ont passé;
Les feuilles dorées s’en allant mourir à terre
Renaîtront un jour sous un ciel radieux,
Mais notre monde érodé restera le même
Et demain toi et moi serons partis.
Simplistic, it lulls around the back of your head like pleasant memory just out of grasp. Surreal.
I could not be more anxious to receive my dose of Alcest. A good promo!
With the impeding tensions regarding the end of quite a tumultuous era of my academic life, I tend to listen to a range of folky acoustic tracks. My latest find in these waters is Amesoeurs. Technically they’re not “folky acoustic” at all, but the temperament they provide is pleasing nonetheless.
Amesoeurs was a French getup and their music is categorized as being post-punk (wiki). I don’t know what that means. They’re a lot like Alcest (another French group) and their music is quite interesting. I have their only album (Self-titled) which has mix good ambient moods and groovy riffs.
The album kicks off with an instrumental “Gas in Veins” followed by another fifty minutes of atmospheric riffage and the beguiling voice of Audrey Sylvain (clean) and Neige (harsh). (I preferred the former) The beguilement could also be resulting from the French, a language known to beguile. Either way, it is a beautiful mix of elements which have contributed to making one of the better albums that I have come across in the past few months.
The album is characteristic with the feature of being so subliminal due to the similar tones used, excessive merging of layers and basic chord structures. Lyrics blend in well with the colour of the entire album.
Tracks like “Faux Semblants” and “Les Ruches Malades” quite literally liven the mood up with their quick step beats and empyreal music (structure wise), but then one actually delves into what she sings and one realises one’s own naivety and the entire paradoxical scenario that was forged for the listener. The first half of the album is quite an adventure; the second half begins with “I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX – IX XIX – IV V I IV” which is this straight out black metal track, something out of a commercial Scandinavian band. It stands out like an off-note in an opera. And yet the rude awakening to reality is just as brutal as reality itself, quite fitting. “Video Girl” plunges one back into the familiar vertigo.
This album has shown every aspect of this band and its diversity. It was a sad day when Amesoeurs split, for they had just about everything right.
This album gets an easy 8.5/10 from me.