Apr 1, 2014

Posted by in 3 Songs | 0 Comments

3 Songs: “Post-Rock Existential Crisis” Edition

Post-rock, like pornography, can be difficult to define, because it’s really all about creating an internal feeling through instrumental compositions. Artists like Tim Hecker and God Is an Astronaut don’t necessarily create songs that you remember as distinct units, but rather album-length sound tapestries. I love post-rock a lot, despite (and because of) the fact that it causes me to descend into weird existential crises that may involve random bouts of sobbing and hours of staring off into space contemplating the ultimate fate of proton decay. If this sounds like a good way to spend your afternoon (and c’mon, you know it does), here are three post-rock songs to put you in that deliciously apocalyptic mood.

Jonsi and Alex – Boy 1904 (Riceboy Sleeps)

I discovered this song in a modern dance class. I was depressed as hell, overwhelmed with school and a recent heartbreak, and deeply anxious. I went to this class and absolutely loathed the peppy cheerleader-esque teaching style of the instructor. I hated the other girls in the class, all of whom seemed to be less sweaty, thinner, and just better at life than I was. I gritted my teeth and held back tears when I caught my reflection in the mirror. And then the instructor put on this song for our cool-down, and every single one of my anxieties dissolved into the warm, vinyl-inspired crackles and ambient chorus of Jonsi and Alex’s best song.

Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine (The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place)

I always imagine this song to be the score to an apocalypse film, a bit like when Danny Boyle used Godspeed!You Black Emperor in a pivotal scene in 28 Days Later. I love me some apocalypse narratives; they’re my genre obsession, the way other people watch kung fu classics or cheesy horror flicks. When the leitmotif kicks in at around 2:20 or so, I really do imagine it to be the moment when the two protagonists look out over the blasted landscape of the world they once knew, and they hold hands to reaffirm their humanity. The hesitant beginnings and slow build feel so inherently tragic, but rather than wallowing in the melancholy there’s a sense of being uplifted–that negative emotions like regret and loss are not inherently negative, but a rich part of the massive spectrum of human emotion.

Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy (The Campfire Headphase)

There is nothing I can say that would do justice to this song. Knowing that it’s one of Boards of Canada’s best and most accessible songs, as well as realizing that the rest of their work is actually way better in a lot of ways, just gives you a hint as to why BoC fans are so rabid. This was the song that made me fall headlong in love with the mysterious Scottish electronica duo; their sort of long strange trip is one I’m always happy to take.

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