Like many a whorish music lover, I’ve gone through more micro-genres and ‘favorite band’ phases than I care to remember. In the late nineties I was all about something called post-rock, which was lovely back then because literary fiction writers like David Foster Wallace were still seriously trying to explain post-modern this or irony that, as if it was fun, which before the 00′s (the future) truly arrived to bum us all out, actually kinda was. The great thing about post-rock was its utter nebulosity and indie-ness, so anything that didn’t have a squareish 4/4 beat and discernable vocals was fair game. Scenes started in Chicago (Tortoise), Louisville (Slint), Montreal (GYBE!), Glasgow (Mogwai) and Reykjavík (Sigur Rós), among others.
I lived in Princeton, New Jersey at the time, home to one of the world’s greatest record shrines, the Princeton Record Exchange. There I spent many a Sunday afternoon snapping up Slint side projects and Stereolab B-sides. I even bought a turntable, not to scratch on, like I might today, but to play heavy vinyl slabs from Thrill Jockey. Since I moved to Berlin in late 99, I’ve seen only two post-rock concerts, but both wholly awe-inspiring: Labradford at Knaack in 2001 and Godspeed You Black Emperor at the Volksbuhne in 2002.
While the critical hype has calmed some since the late 20th century and many an undergrounder has moved overground to the soundtrack business, there are still plenty of quiet-loud symphonic bands like the Texans, Explosions in the Sky, holding it down for the captain. I recently ran up against a great keeper of the flame, if you want to call it that, California’s El Ten Eleven. Supposedly their live show is the real corker. This little track evokes early morning emotion without uttering a word, simply virtuoso musicianship and impeccable timing, the sound of a butterfly creating a tsunami, from their 2005 eponymous debut.
Get your soul drunk on more post-rock goodness here.Stumble it!