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AOE\WAITM Split Reviewed at Sputnik Music

everyone go post some comments and rep your set at the sputnik music site. But hell 4 outa 5 aint bad...





The Ascent of Everest/WAITM   The Ascent of Everest/WAITM Split LP

Scott Reid USER (10 Reviews)

2010-01-07 | 8 comments | 189 views
Summary: More than just something for everyone, this anti-collaboration should never work as a whole; but it does, and on a staggering scale.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

This was a partnership always set to be a collision of worlds, with each band a different breed of post-rock. “We all inherit the moon” traditionally opt for unstructured, disoriented ambience and rely largely on the layering of lefty-righty, whirling, swooning and sweeping textures, a composition without the composition, to enchant the listener. On the other hand, “The Ascent of Everest” stick to the tried-and-tested Godspeed method of constructed crescendos, loud/quiet formula and orchestrated explosions always on cue, slowly approaching the kill with classic shock-and-awe tactics. A case of ‘Natures Wonder, meet Mr. Timetable’ is a match of potentially disastrous makings which could see two opposing styles attempt to strangle the other into submission. So while it seems a sensible move that the two bands never work on the same song (the clue is in the ridiculously long title, ‘Split’ LP), it is also somewhat disappointing that there will be no phenomenon of opposites attracting and meshing to mould a being greater than its parts. Or so it would seem.

If the opener is anything to go by, the exclusivity most likely envisaged is indeed the case. The partnership of “We all inherit the moon” with “The Ascent of Everest” hasn’t rubbed off on the former in the slightest, as they present a leisurely, heavily atmospheric spectacle as touch and feel oriented as the bands texture-based work has always been. That it reaches a point near the end where the aura gets busier is by no means an indication of… anything, really. It’s perfectly within the bands nature that this could be a completely accidental and co-incidental meander. In fact, that’s what the point of their music is. It’s gently, beautifully unrestrained and free flowing. Even basic rhythm is often deemed too constricting to music as unhindered of all restriction as this is. This is no bad move to make, as a brooding power found in the weighty ambience is propulsion enough. Not even the track titles, with their so called ‘Parts’, rein the music into any correlation within itself. The only connection between them is the goal of evocating a beautiful concept, even then usually not the same one. This isn’t anything new. A drift through vast ambient dreams, lengthy but refraining from elaboration, the fuzzy, the trembling and occasionally the crisp coated over each other, randomly intermingling, melting and juxtapositioning; the merest, slightest ordering of organic sounds. It’s what they do (and, given the scale of it, they do it with elegance), and the fact that they share this LP with a band working at the opposite end of the same field evidently hasn’t changed that. Not that there are any gimmicks to make it stand out anyway. If you like this sort of thing, then this segment of the album will genuinely intrigue you and you will appreciate the gentleness of a creature so packed and dense that it’s nearly intimidating; if you don’t, it’s boring. Simple as. Fans will enjoy, non-fans, for all of its enormity, won’t be swirled into submission. But that is only a cautionary statement that should not detract from the fact that the sensation it projects is nonetheless breathtaking and surprisingly accessible. It makes a fitting introduction to the ‘ambience’ genre.

Whilst on the whole ‘The Ascent of Everest’ do likewise to their counterparts and stick to what they know, there are several nods to their predecessors which allow the split LP, despite the musical differences of the two bands, to still come together as a whole musical concept. The use of strings by both bands back to back (whereon the final track from ‘We all inherit the moon’ they are rich, warm, even bassy, they are only slightly up-key and up-tempo when handed over to ‘The Ascent of Everest’) chauffeurs us with ease into their portion of the album rather than giving us an unceremonious plunging. What more, it puts them in their comfort zone, even if these strings are reminiscent of a very similar sound in the bands earlier work (‘We Trembled in Our Own Hearts’, among others). The undertones of eerie, indecipherable vocals are also a re-jigging of one of their old tricks. Then again, ‘The Ascent of Everest’ never have been truly innovative, their appeal lying in putting the ‘good’ back in ‘good ol’ fashioned post-rock’. They hold true to this, almost religiously following the quiet-then-build-up-then-climax formula, though with talent and vitality enough to truly resurrect it rather than turn it into another lumbering zombie-dinosaur already cluttering the genre. To put it simply, they’re a great post-rock band, and this is no exception to the rule. What’s more, it comes into its own when unifying the split. From the openers which sound like the work of their predecessors given an audible heartbeat and a sense of direction, through their theatrical crescendos, up and away until they reach the upmost zeniths of animation in sound, it is all a great continuous climaxing which is a sprawling and natural progression of the sound inaugurated by ‘We all inherit the moon’. Very different concepts with equally different goals have somehow, despite their obvious intent to avoid amalgamation, have formed between them a massive, single hyperbola worthy of the greatest of post-rock proportions, spanning (practically inadvertently) an entire album. The line between this being a protruding contradiction that disjoints the album, and an accident so ingenious that it must surely have been orchestrated, is blurred so much that neither really matter; because of how faultlessly it just works. Yes, it’s uncertain whether this was inadvertent or not in light of the motives of the rest of the album, but when this co-incidence (if it is) is such a fortunate one, why complain if it’s so marvellous?

It might come as a disappointment that neither band made an effort to emulate the work of the other, but, surprising as it may be, it’s a good thing that they didn’t. By holding steadfast to their respective strength, each individual section comes off stronger for it, both pieces of music truly notable in a congested genre. That they come together so unexpectedly and deliciously, over such a long period of time takes post-rock to a scale perhaps unprecedented, where one cycle eclipses an entire album. Sterling work in different areas for their respective fans, an awesome (in the most literal sense of the word) spectacle of intensification for the rest of us and a release as a free download to entice any newcomers should see this collaboration of polarised styles become a greater success than anyone could have anticipated.

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