I am a huge fan of Fluttery Records, and I haven’t had the opportunity, until now, to talk about two of their releases that I listed in my Top 50-ish recordings of 2014.
First up is a wonderfully atmospheric post-rock rollercoaster of an album, Dogma by Gespenst. It moves from engaging glitchy electronics to blistering post-metal … from there to an atmospheric, neo-classical-infused post-rock. It really does twist and turn as the album evolves, and this is part of the appeal.
I found Dogma to be a compelling listen; it is deeply engaging, with an emphasis placed on atmosphere and melody. The opening track, “Grace”, evolves dramatically as it builds in intensity, moving from glitchy electronics to more driving metal before dropping down to allow a strange chant to be heard … then “Dogma”, the title track, kicks off and we are in full-on instrumental post-metal territory, with driving riffs building the foundation for the lead guitar playing a staccato melody. It really is a beaut of a track.
From “Dogma” we move towards more post-rock territory, infused with a neo-classical sensibility: “Cerca Trova”, with its piano-led melody and sweeping chords that interplay with ominous percussion and guitars to create the most delightfully engaging sound, one that is enhanced with the inclusion of a violin playing a counter-melody … the wall-of-sound that is “Immortal” with its multiple layers and driving percussion … or even the tour-de-force that is the closing track — “Everything Ends” — a track Mogwai would be very proud of.
Dogma is a post-rock lover’s dream — totally engaging and immersive, with a variety of sounds and textures to keep the listener very attentive.
Next up we have Starting Over by Summer Effect, an album that says so much in its short 29-minute duration.
From the opening layers of sound in the opener, the title track, “Starting Over”, to the closing refrain of “Humanity”, this is a blistering, no-holds-barred set of full-on, big guitar-oriented post-rock.
I cannot fault this release. It scratches that particular itch that I, as a post-rock fan, have for a progressive, face-melting aural assault … one that places the emphasis firmly on both dynamics and melody. With great power comes great responsibility, and Summer Effect get this timeless adage.
Dynamics are critical for post-rock to really work, and they nail it with their tight delivery, which is timed to perfection. Summer Effect get contrast, and they readily express themselves in contrasting terms such as quiet and loud, slow and fast, small and big, with “Light and Rain” being a prime example of this.
What’s more, they manage all this ooomph without sacrificing melody and counter-melody; “Dance for Borneo” is, in places, a loud and heavy track but it holds true to a powerful melody, one I’ve found myself humming long after I’ve been listening to the track.
Starting Over is well worth a listen … preferably loud. Just remember your neighbours!
The third and final recording worthy of your attention was not listed in my Top 50-ish of 2014 due to the fact it is a re-release, albeit a new release on Fluttery: Romance by Row Boat is a remarkable EP, one that sings to my heart.
Mark Wardale, the man behind Row Boat, is a personal friend and someone whose presence on my timeline and in my headphones is always welcomed. He has a love for life that is infectious and this comes over in his music, music that nicely fits in the more neo-classical, ambient-inspired end of post-rock and is very reminiscent of less frenetic work of Sigur Rós.
Romance is an exemplary recording, full of life and love. It is delicate and nuanced, with a Romantic subtlety best suited for late nights and lazy Sunday mornings. The Danes have a concept called hygge. According to MNN it is loosely translated at “togetherness,” and “coziness,” though it’s not a physical state, it’s a mental one. Romance has a real, palpable sense of hygge running through it, a sense of togetherness that makes this release the ideal soundtrack to a cozy night in with your significant other.
This EP lives up to its name … and that, for me, is the best compliment I can give it. As such, it comes highly recommended by me. Get indoors, get this on and snuggle down deep while the snow falls and the wind howls.