Monday, August 11, 2014

Becoming Post Rock

"A band's journey through rock to post-rock usually involves a trajectory from narrative lyrics to stream-of-consciousness to voice-as-texture to purely instrumental music". - Simon Reynolds ("Post-Rock") 

Due to life's necessities, I don’t get to read as much as I liked to these days, instead I’ve been listening to music - a lot! It stabs, soothes and suffuses into the unblended silence of my aquamarine space – a space I am slowly building that includes a vibrant, make-believe, diaphanous sense of myself that extends from my dark immutable quiddity, circles the soft creaks of the window in the breeze and flows towards the languorously blossoming forest and beyond into the starry depths of the galaxy.

  I try defining this imagined space - it could be a cultivated or intrinsic awareness, or perhaps it is simply I, expanding beyond the prison of my body to become everything – a benevolent, sentient ecosystem smattered with grasshoppers’ choruses, avian refrains, ochre-tailed love-making crow pheasants and a wild, glorious flurry of pine, casuarina, eucalyptus, ferns, crowding climbers, tumbling shrubs, unbridled downpours, and flitting dragonflies. Perhaps it is the manifestation of my belief in art’s boundlessness.
I’ve never been a great connoisseur of music, but while skimming through genres (mostly classic rock) I came across Paper Birds by an Icelandic band called Parachutes. From the very first moment - when the first strain of that haunting, alluring music trickled into my soul, I was smitten. It was beautiful - elemental, raw and unutterably and compellingly beautiful. It was as if this piece of music was slumbering in my veins for so long and has suddenly been awakened. It fitted into me; it filled into my solitary green space and steeped it in the richest variants of iridescence, softest gradients of mauve, deepest oranges of dawn, and the darkest shades of night. It poured into my marrows, replaced collagen with the purest pellucid ecstasy, and turned my spine into a wildly shuddering cluster of moths. I hunted every single recording of this now-defunct post-rock band, and spend hours listening to them while my fingers mindlessly tapped and tapped churning out articles. Soon I plunged in wildly, sampling and drowning in the magic of different Post-Rock bands – inhaling the gentle mellowness of Hammock, the wind-rustle-feel of Library Tapes, gentle ripples of Tiny Leaves, Slow Dancing Society's euphoric high, The Echelon Effect, Message to Bears, Stafrænn Hákon, the swoon-effect of Balmorhea, Musk Ox, Sigur Rós’ child-like exquisiteness and oh, so many more – a world in itself.
Post-Rock music is strangely evocative - it changed the very vibration of my body and added something so mellifluous and wondrous to that precious universe that I am building around me. It was the music I heard in my dreams right from the embryonic stage; it was the music to which my poems secretly danced. It was the croons and gurgles of all the palpable creatures that resided in my space, it was the throb of each condensing dew drop in the forest that found a reverberation in my pumping blood. It defined me. There was no turning back. 

Just as I fell in love, irrevocably and fatally with Nabokov’s prose (to the point where I sometimes cannot read anything else but his words over and over again), I’ve fallen in love (much to my own amazement) with Post Rock – with the dreamy, subtle art of the albums covers, with the evocative haunting videos, with the elysian, subdued vocals (sometimes just soft humming or droning) the way they make use of ambient sounds, soft timbres, delicate tremors of guitar and piano, where human voice becomes an instrument. For instance, Sigur Rós, is known for singing in a strange fabricated language (glossolalia) created by its frontman Jón "Jónsi" Þór Birgisson. Critics call it "Hopelandic", which has been described by the band as "a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument."
Enamored. Drowned. Enlightened. What should I call this?
Presumably we are looking at the prototype of how music will be in the future or perhaps this is the oldest form of music - the very hum of the universe, the resonance of existence. When the first ethereal coos flowed out of a primordial extraterrestrial/supernatural/empyrean/mechanical throat, a fragile and tragically beautiful earth shimmered into being.

I've given links below to some of the finest Post Rock that I've curated on Pinterest.  I hope you will listen and love:

 P.S: I wouldn't say all the music/recordings under the  'Post-Rock' label are good, some of them in fact are rather harsh and incomplete. But on the whole, I love the experimental, elemental and unrestrained nature of this genre. And yes, it moves me in a way that no other music could so far. 

Image Source: Google Images 

1 comment:

Sumi said...

You are so me. For me music is Post-rock. And all the bands that you have mentioned are what i have built my existence upon. I am a little bit in love with you man. Also, listen to Ludovico Einaudi, if you don't already.