I certainly appreciate heavy instrumental dark ambience. In times of great stress or exhaustion, I can often find solace in my favorite album recorded by the Québécois Godspeed You! Black Emperor, or Edinburgh’s Boards of Canada. Similarly, when I am vexed, but the origin of my vexation is hidden, I often find an outlet for these murky emotions in these leaden instrumentalisms. My limited list of bands to turn to in times like these has just expanded with the addition of local ambient post-rock group My Education.
My favorite album of theirs, Italian, was released over a decade ago. While unarguably a very old record (relative to contemporary dating standards in the music industry), Italian definitely holds up. Strong percussion pitted against ambitious guitar work makes for an experience that is cinematic, even romantic; I’d use the word epic if it weren’t laden with the connotations of memetic banality.
This sort of music is some of the most rewarding and simultaneously heartbreaking music to listen to. I am moved to emotions that verge on polarity in their intensity–as I type this, listening to Thanksgiving, I feel my nose irritate and my eyes get puffy. Hearing these songs brings to mind images of cloudy skies and vast plains, but I wonder if I would really be comfortable listening to My Education in such a setting. Perhaps they are better for a long walk home, or a rainy drive back from the house of someone you love.
The 5 Popes remastered album, originally recorded in 2001 but re-released in February 2014, is another example of the kind of engaging experience you can have when immersing yourself in a full-bodied sound.With Concentration Waltz playing in my (admittedly not very fancy) headphones, I am buffeted in stereo by waves of vehemently focused fervor.
My Education is currently James Alexander on viola and guitar, Skye Ashbrook in charge of visuals, Earl Bowers playing the drums, Brian Purington and Chris Hackstie also playing guitar, Kirk Laktas doing keyboard Instruments and Scott Telles playing bass. Together they display an exercise in practiced cohesion and immersive ambient auditory experiences.