The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
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The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
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EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY - EARTH IS NOT COLD DEAD PLACE - CD
"...Austin's Explosions In The Sky are still the kings of post-rock meltdown..." -- Details
"This Texas guitar-theater quartet played one of the most amazing gigs I saw in 2003..." -- Rolling Stone
"Will kill anyone whoever had a heart, never mind those who already love FX-pedal pushers such as Ride and Mogwai." -- NME
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EITS was my autumn running soundtrack. I listened to this a lot when running on chilly afternoons with a low sun as well as on the treadmill when it was too dark or cold to run outside. Since we had an especially snowy and cold November, I also listened to EITS while shoveling.
The music is complex enough to be interesting but not so erudite that it leaves me, a rather average listener, feeling like I'm not getting the inside joke or disaffected because the music is meant to impress rather than express an idea or emotion. I suspect to those who really KNOW music there is a lot there to sink your teeth into and analyze. But me? I like to listen to it while I run since that is when I do my best thinking. I honestly think having a good soundtrack helps.
There WILL be people who will not like this album. Perhaps the similarity of the songs will get to you; there are a lot of the same progressions and tonal structures (even the band members have mentioned that sometimes their music tends to reflect itself). Or maybe the music will be a bit too ambient for your tastes. Every song is, essentially, an instrumental narration of a tale ("Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean," for example, is about the ill-fated crew of the Russian submarine, the Kursk; other titles, like "The Only Moment We Were Alone" and "First Breath After Coma" are more self-explanatory). With this in mind, it's likely that some people just won't like the stories, or the distant and drifting manner in which they are told. Looked at with this in mind, there are moments where the songs do grow hazy, where the tenderness seems to run less on inspiration and more on auto-pilot.
What it really boils down to is less a matter of music and more a matter of mind. Some people allow (and even want) the music to conjure up their own thoughtscapes, and that's exactly what EITS is about. If you are the type who is all about allowing the head and heart to surf on swelling and swooping rushes of sound, if you occasionally need a reason to burrow into your own soul, or if you just need an excuse to get goosebumps for no reason, this album is for you.
Everyone else should probably look for something with lyrics.
Structured in nearly a symphonic manner this foursome of guitars, bass and drums are extrodinary in their tension/release style, so popularly developed by Godspeed You Black Emperor.
Godspeed however, is a larger band that uses the dynamics of a rock band against symphonic instrumentation in frequently, nearly agonizingly built up tension via sound rewarded with several cressendos, often interspersed with unique and truly interesting sampled monologues, often of the sociopolitical kind.
And that's where the similarity ends. Explosions in the Sky play simple phrasing, many times two or three note themes bouncing between players and perhaps looping devices and possibly the occasional synth. The sound character is absolutely gorgous!
Guitars sound wonderfully real with minimal processing, usually reverb and time based delays that keep the rhythmic components swirling as it develops.
The songs range in the eight minute mode but are mind bendingly beautiful. Explosion in the Sky use guitar tones as a way of deliniating segments of the music to great effect.
The Godspeed connection will be obvious to fans of both bands but it is vastly different with Explosions in the Sky in that there are 4 people making sounds that go from clean, pure timbre to violent swells of shredding noise.
Before turning some people off the bulk of the album is austere with a sense of grandure that is almost always unexpected yet fits well. And should a section feature swells of intense guitars the feeling is more of the guitar being another tone, not noise for the sake of noise. Instead, any intensity tends to serve the compositions, all of which are excellently performed.
If you love solos they aren't here, but it would be idiotic not to buy this album because of it's lack of soloing. As a guitar player of 30+ years I'd put this on a very short list of what makes guitar great and why guitarists should be able to play in this style if they wish to fully realize their instrument.
If you don't like classical music my mention of it's styles would be another poor reason to pass.
Being one of the better Experimental/Post Rock albums of recent times I'd say this is a must have for those that follow the genre and for those that wish to understand what guitarists get all fussy about when they mention the word "tone."
The guitar tones are simple and stunning, in no small part because of the entire band's approach to music. Without the drum and bass support the guitars would be far less impressive.
One last thing, there are elements of minor but interesting electronica styled, meaning similar to Kraut Rock and 70s NEU! and other electronic based artists. So even though the guitars are really nicely played and their sound sculpted from the instruments fundemental tones there are still modern segments that keep Explosions in the Sky in a very hip presentation of their style.
Get this CD. You may need to spend some time depending on your listening background, but most likely you will end up respecting and hopefully loving this fine album.
Most recent customer reviews
My only issue is that the vinyl album did not come with a tracklist and the discs do not clearly indicate order.Read more