Post-rock


Post-rock

Infobox Music genre
name=Post-rock
bgcolor=crimson
color=white
stylistic_origins= Experimental Indie rock Space rock Shoegazing Electronica Progressive rock Math rock
cultural_origins= Mid-1980s, United Kingdom, United States, and Canada
instruments= GuitarBassDrumsViolinCello - Other less common instruments, such as cimbalom, Voice, Saxophone, Oboe, Glockenspiels, Piano, or Synthesizers.
popularity=Limited, exists mostly within the indie scene.
derivatives=Electronic rock
regional_scenes=Montreal, Iceland, Chicago, and Glasgow.
fusiongenres=Post-metal

Post-rock is a genre of alternative rock characterized by the use of musical instruments commonly associated with rock music, but using rhythms, harmonies, melodies, timbre, and chord progressions that are not found in rock tradition. It is the use of 'rock instrumentation' for non-rock purposes. Practitioners of the genre's style typically produce instrumental music.

As with many musical genres, the term is arguably inadequate as a concise descriptor: for example, Don Caballero and Tortoise were among the more prominent bands of the 1990s described as post rock, but the two bands' music has very little in common besides the fact that they are both instrumental and centered on guitars and drums. As such, the term has been the subject of backlash from listeners and artists alike.cite web|url=http://www.undertheradarmag.com/Issue%201/Interviews/Mogwai/mogwai.html|title=A Conversation with Mogwai's Dominic Aitchison|first=Mark|last=Redfern|publisher=Under the Radar|date=2001|accessdate=2006-11-28]

Although firmly rooted in the indie or underground scene of the 1980s and '90s, post-rock's style often bears little resemblance musically to that of indie rock.

Post-rock

Origin of the term

The term 'post-rock' was believed to be coined by critic Simon Reynolds in his review of Bark Psychosis' album "Hex", published in the March 1994 issue of "Mojo" magazine.cite web|url=http://www.rocksbackpages.com/article.html?ArticleID=5803|title=Bark Psychosis: "Hex"|first=Simon|last=Reynolds|date=March 1994|accessdate=2008-07-08|publisher=Mojo] Reynolds expanded upon the idea later in the May 1994 issue of "The Wire".cite web|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20011202075606/http://www.thewire.co.uk/out/1297_4.htm|title=S. T.|publisher=The Wire|first=Simon|last=Reynolds|date=May 1994|accessdate=2007-07-08] cite web|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20040817143035/http://www.thewire.co.uk/about/history.html|title=The Wire 20|date=November 2002|accessdate=2008-07-08|publisher=The Wire]

He used the term to describe music "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords." He further expounded on the term, cquote|Perhaps the really provocative area for future development lies... in cyborg rock; not the wholehearted embrace of Techno's methodology, but some kind of interface between real time, hands-on playing and the use of digital effects and enhancement.

In a July 2005 entry in his blog, Reynolds claimed he had used the term "post-rock" before using it in "Mojo", previously using it in music newspaper "Melody Maker".cite web|url=http://blissout.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_blissout_archive.html#112140209965630241|title=S. T.|first=Simon|last=Reynolds|date=2005-07-14|accessdate=2006-11-28|publisher=blissblog] He also said he later found the term to not be of his own creation, saying in his blog, "although I genuinely believed I was coining the term, I discovered many years later it had been floating around for over a decade." The term was used by American journalist James Wolcott in a 1975 article about musician Todd Rundgren, although with a different meaning.cite web|url=http://toddstuff.home.comcast.net/articles/TR-creem-exile.html|title=Todd Rundgren - Street Punk in Self-Imposed Exile|first=James|last=Wolcott|date=July 1975|accessdate=2008-07-08|publisher=Creem] It was also used in either the Rolling Stone Album or Record Guide to name a style roughly corresponding to "avant-rock" or "out-rock". Another pre-1994 example of the term in use can be found in an April 1992 review of 90's noise-pop band The Earthmen by Steven Walker in Melbourne music publication "Juke", where he describes a "post-rock noisefest".cite web|url=http://www.suburbia.com.au/~snf/records/summersh/staceys.html|title=S. T.|first=Steven|last=Walker|date=April 1992|accessdate=2008-07-08|publisher=Juke]

Historical development

Early precedents

Post-rock appears to take a heavy influence from late '60s U.S. group The Velvet Underground and their "dronology" — "a term that loosely describes fifty percent of today's post rock activity."cite book| isbn=0826416152|author=Simon Reynolds|editor=Cox, Cristoph and Daniel Warner|last=Reynolds|first=Simon|publisher=Continuum International|pages=359|title=Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music]

The "Krautrock" of the 1960s and '70s would also exert a strong influence on post-rock, particularly via the "motorik", or characteristic rhythm of much Krautrock.

British group Public Image Ltd (PiL) were also pioneers, described by the "NME"cite web|url=http://www.nme.com/reviews/public-image-ltd/641|title=NME Reviews: Plastic Box|date=1999-01-11|accessdate=2008-07-08|publisher=NME] as " [a] rguably the first post-rock group." Their second album "Metal Box" (1979) almost completely abandoned traditional rock and roll structures in favor of dense, repetitive dub- and krautrock-inspired soundscapes and John Lydon's cryptic, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. The year before "Metal Box" was released, PiL bassist Jah Wobble declared, "rock is obsolete."cite web|url=http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/heavy_metal/|title=Heavy Metal|publisher=Frieze Magazine|first=Simon|last=Reynolds|date=November 2007|accessdate=2008-01-15] "Flowers of Romance" (1981), their third album, was an even more radical departure, emphasizing rattling percussion and abstract tape music.

The shoegazing movement of the late 1980s and early '90s was also a predecessor of post rock, with bands like My Bloody Valentine devoting as much, or more, attention to unorthodox, layered guitar textures than to traditional guitar sounds.

1990s post-rock

Bands from the early 1990s, such as Slint, or earlier, such as Talk Talk, were later recognized as influential on post-rock. Slint's "Spiderland" and Talk Talk's "Laughing Stock"cite web|url=http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?reviewid=6911|publisher=Sputnik Music|title=Talk Talk — It's My Life review|first=Chris|last=Jackson|date=2006-05-15|accessdate=2007-03-29] are credited as giving birth to post-rock.

Originally used to describe the music of such bands as Cul de Sac,cite web|url=http://www.birdhouse.org/words/scot/post_rock.html|title=The Post-Rock Phenomenon|accessdate=2007-03-29|publisher=Utne Reader|first=Scot|last=Hacker|date=July 1996] Stereolab,cite web|url=http://www.epitonic.com/index.jsp?refer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.epitonic.com%2Fartists%2Fstereolab.html|title=Stereolab biography|accessdate=2007-03-29|publisher=Epitonic|date=2001-08-27|first=Jesse|last=Ashlock] Laika,cite web|url=http://www.vh1.com/artists/news/1124379/20000924/laika.jhtml|accessdate=2008-07-08|date=2000-09-24|publisher=VH1.com|title=Laika Kick Off U.S. Tour In Seattle|first=Doug|last=Levy] Disco Inferno,cite web|url=http://www.epitonic.com/index.jsp?refer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.epitonic.com%2Fartists%2Fdiscoinferno.html|title=Disco Inferno biography|accessdate=2007-03-29|date=2001-08-10|publisher=Epitonic|first=Jeanne|last=Acceturo] Moonshake,cite web|url=http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/1232|title=Dusted Reviews review of Minamo — Beautiful|accessdate=2007-03-29|date=2004-01-26|publisher=Dusted Magazine|first=Charlie|last=Wilmoth] Seefeel,cite web|url=http://samizdat.cc/shelf/documents/2005/07.11-lostGeneration/lostGeneration.pdf|title=The Lost Generation|accessdate=2008-07-08|date=2005-07-11|first=Nitsuh|last=Abebe|publisher=Pitchfork Media] Bark Psychosis, and Pram, post-rock grew to be frequently used for a variety of jazz and krautrock influenced, largely instrumental, and electronica-tinged music made after 1994.

Tortoise is also widely considered as being among the founders of the movement.cite web|url=http://www.stylusmagazine.com/reviews/tortoise/a-lazarus-taxon.htm|title=Review of Tortoise's A Lazarus Taxon|first=Todd|last=Hutlock|publisher=Stylus Magazine|accessdate=2006-11-28|date=2006-09-01] After the second Tortoise LP "Millions Now Living Will Never Die", the band became a post-rock icon.cite web|url=http://www.splendidezine.com/review.html?reviewid=1081734856339505|title=Tortoise — It's All Around You|first=Phillip|last=Buchan|publisher=Splendid Magazine|date=2004-04-13|accessdate=2007-03-29] Many bands (e.g., Do Make Say Think) began to record music inspired by the "Tortoise-sound".cite web|url=http://www.textura.org/archives/d/domakeandyetreview.htm|title=Do Make Say Think — And Yet review|publisher=Textura|date=February 2003|accessdate=2007-03-29]

In the late 1990s, Chicago was the home base for a variety of post-rock associated performers. Both John McEntire of Tortoise and Jim O'Rourke of Brise-Glace and Gastr del Sol were important producers for many of the groups.cite web|url=http://www.scaruffi.com/history/cpt521.html|title=The History of Rock: The Nineties|first=Piero|last=Scaruffi|date=2005|accessdate=2007-03-29]

One of the most eminent post-rock locales is Montreal, where Godspeed You! Black Emperor and similar groups, including A Silver Mt. Zion, Do Make Say Think, and Fly Pan Am record on "Constellation", a notable post-rock record label. [cite web|url=http://media.www.mcgilltribune.com/media/storage/paper234/news/2002/11/19/AE/Post-Rock.A.Movement.Of.The.90s.Still.Kickin-326959.shtml|title=Post-rock: a movement of the 90s still kickin'|date=2002-11-19|publlisher=the McGill Tribune|accessdate=2007-03-29|first=Ian|last=Weinberger] These groups are generally characterized by an aesthetic rooted in, among other genres, musique concrète, chamber music, and free jazz.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Scottish group Mogwai were among some of the influential post-rock groups to arise during the turn of the 21st century.cite web|url=http://deepfrybonanza.com/artnoise/?page_id=62|date=2005-05-05|title=Constellation Interview|publisher=Deep Fry Bonanza] cite web|url=http://wm07.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=77:2682|title=Post-Rock/Experimental|publisher=Allmusic|accessdate=2008-07-08]

In the early 2000s, the term had started to fall out of favour. It became increasingly controversial as more critics outwardly condemned its use. Some of the bands for whom the term was most frequently assigned, including Cul de Sac,cite web|title=Cul de Sac Interview|url=http://people.bu.edu/nsmith/interview.htm|accessdate=2006-11-29] cite web|title=Interview with Cul de Sac's Glenn Jones|url=http://www.furious.com/PERFECT/culdesac.html|publisher=Perfect Sound Forever|accessdate=2006-11-29|date=1998-03|first=Dave|last=Lang] Tortoise, and Mogwai, rejected the label. The wide range of styles covered by the term, they and others have claimed, rob it of its usefulness.cite web|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/gate/archive/2005/05/12/derk.DTL|title=Hear & Now|date=2005-05-12|accessdate=2007-03-29|publisher=San Francisco Gate|first=Derk|last=Richardson]

Today, despite criticism of the term, post-rock has maintained its prominence. Post-rock outfits Explosions in the Sky, Cordis, Sigur Rós, Pelican and Mono have risen in popularity, showing the longevity of the disputed genre.cite web|url=http://www.gigwise.com/contents.asp?contentid=29326&p=2|title=Bang On: Explosions in the Sky|first=Laura|last=Babbili|date=2007-03-15|accessdate=2007-03-09|publisher=Gigwise]

Post-rock bands are still emerging; HREÐA, 65daysofstatic, Youthmovies, Yndi Halda, Caspian, This Will Destroy You and other such bands still maintain the fundamental principles of the genre. Though it can be argued that post-rock as a movement has been rendered obsolete through change of attitude and natural evolution, it is still a musical description and genre, yet to dissipate.cite web|url=http://altmusic.about.com/od/genresstyles/p/post_rock.htm|title=What is Post-Rock? A Genre Profile|first=Michael|last=Keefe|accessdate=2007-12-03|publisher=About.com]

Musical characteristics

The post-rock sound incorporates characteristics from a variety of musical genres, including ambient, jazz, electronica, and experimental. The traditional method of power chords is replaced with timbre and texture for guitar-play while the song and voice is abandoned by its ambience. The rebellious overtones of rock as we remember it is no longer the theme for post-rock groups. In fact, utilizing dub reggae, hip hop, and rave, post-rock manages to create an androgynous and softer means of subversion. The clubs were also a response to the emergence of a new post-rock vibe where musicians escaped musical genre labels and traded ideas. Early post-rock groups also often exhibited strong influence from the krautrock of the '70s, particularly borrowing elements of "motorik", the characteristic krautrock rhythm.cite web|url=http://www.aural-innovations.com/issues/issue16/postrok1.html|title=What Exactly Comes After Post-rock?|last=Henderson|first=Keith|publisher=Aural Innovations|date=June 2001|accessdate=2007-09-28] cite web|url=http://www.thenetnet.com/reviews/newelec.html|title=What You Need to Know About Electronica|accessdate=2007-09-28|publisher=The Net Net|first=Chris|last=Tweney|date=May 1997]

Post-rock compositions often make use of repetition of musical motifs and subtle changes with an extremely wide range of dynamics. In some respects, this is similar to the music of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Brian Eno, pioneers of minimalism. Typically, post-rock pieces are lengthy and instrumental, containing repetitive build-ups of timbre, dynamics and texture.

Vocals are often omitted from post-rock; however, this does not necessarily mean they are absent entirely. When vocals are included, the use is typically non-traditional: some post-rock bands employ vocals as purely instrumental efforts and incidental to the sound, rather than a more traditional use where "clean", easily-interpretable vocals are important for poetic and lyrical meaning. When present, post-rock vocals are often soft or droning and are typically infrequent or present in irregular intervals. Sigur Rós, a band known for their distinctive vocals, fabricated a language that critics call "Hopelandic" (a term disliked by the band Fact|date=September 2008), which has been described by the band as "a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music and acts as another instrument." [cite web|url=http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/band/faq.php#07|title=Sigur Ros frequently asked questions|accessdate=2006-11-28|publisher=Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise]

However, in lieu of typical rock structures in the vein of "verse-chorus-verse", post-rock groups generally make greater use of soundscapes. As Simon Reynolds' "Audio Culture" states, "A band's journey through rock to post-rock usually involves a trajectory from narrative lyrics to stream-of-consciousness to voice-as-texture to purely instrumental music." [Citation|last=Reynolds|first=Simon|author-link=Simon Reynolds|editor-last=Cox|editor-first=Christoph|editor2-last=Warner|editor2-first=Daniel|year=2004|title=Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music|isbn=978-0826416155] Reynolds' conclusion defines the sporadic progression from rock, with its field of sound and lyrics to post-rock, where samplings are stretched and looped.

Some bands, such as Rachel's and Clogs, combine post-rock with classical music, while others such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor are so far removed from popular music in their sparseness of arrangement and use of repetition, that they are frequently compared to minimalism.

Wider experimentation and blending of other genres have recently taken hold in the post-rock scene. Isis, Russian Circles and Pelican, among others, have fused metal with post-rock styles. The resulting sound has been termed post-metal. More recently, Sludge metal has grown and evolved to include (and in some cases fuse completely with) some elements of post-rock. This second wave of sludge metal has been pioneered by bands such as Neurosis, Giant Squid, and Battle of Mice. This new sound is often seen on the label of Neurot Recordings. [cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/19/features/heavy.php|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2005-09-20|first=Jon|last=Caramanica|accessdate=2007-09-28|title=The Alchemy of Art-World Heavy Metal]

ee also

* List of post-rock bands
* New prog
* Post-metal

References


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