September 22, 2008

Anoice: "Remmings".

Here's another one from my alter-alter RYM ego iij.

Walls of delay soaked in decay; the (unassuming?) representation of some obscure emotional experience we've all had at one point or another in our lives; the soft and subtle dynamic swells of a backwards guitar, and a light tinkling of piano for the illusion of classical musical training; it's all there - the tried and true formula to a great Post-Rock record, as explained in the instruction manual handed down to us by musical extraterrestrial genius' Talk Talk in Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, and yet so far, Anoice seems to have a little better grip on the fundamentals than all those experimental/Post-Rock iconoclasts (ie Red Sparowes, This Will Destroy You, God Is An Astronaut, By The End of Tonight, etc...not to name drop or anything). The question then becomes: do Anoice offer anything new to bite into? Let's get into it.

"Untitled 1" begins this Japanese sextet's musical foray into the often-tragic realms of modern mainstream experimental music (I'm trying to call the genre anything other than "Post-Rock" at this point), and it isn't a bust, necessarily; there is a very subtle melody floating within the ambience. "Aspirin Music" begins as a dual between a backwards guitar riff and a violin, and soon a fairly funky bass and glitchy percussive element join in. Not far behind them all is the "rat-tat-tat" of the battle-snare, and a soothing start-stop romp through a room built out of noise follows. The front door creaks open around the four-minute mark. "Untitled 2" is some salvaged track from Aoki Takamasa's archive of unusable/filler material; in other words, hardly impressive. "Kyoto" could be the opening track to the new Mono record (by the way - aren't they due for a new album?), and is a lovely piece of ear-candy in any setting, in any mood. The dissonance is tasteful and expertly crafted, and the track favors a classical sound rather than the stylings of the chug-along genre itself. "Untitled 3" is a swirling mixture of piano and phased-out pad, but the instrument is in good hands, and the emotional value comes across as intended. "Liange" marks my first impression that the album might not be fully-realized; we started out with a full band, and now we're floating off into some neighboring galaxy...although the sentiment in such an experience far outweighs and overpowers the illusion of an unaccomplished goal. "Untitled 4" features an airy acoustic bit overtop a backdrop of electronic bubbles and synth swells. "The Three-Days Blow" garners the same classical feel we marinated in during "Liange", yet I don't particularly like it much; I get the impression it was written on the guitar, and it comes across a little more juvenile compared to the piano-driven tunes. Anoice's guitarist is a bit lacking in his technique, it seems. The last "Untitled" piece features a piano adrift amongst another ambient electronic sea.

So, I guess we can conclude one thing: Remmings is not your typical Post-Rock offering. The classical skill of its members lends a little more credibility to the music, and at the same time, the emotional swings are self-evident and inviting to the most casual of listeners. Altogether, Anoice's Remmings is 2006's Would You Rather Be Followed by Forty Ducks for the Rest of Your Life?. Actually, not quite that good.

>>Link to my original review on rateyourmusic.com.
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