22 June 2008

Silence Keeps Company

Metavari, Ambling EP
Self-released, 2008

Metavari come to us from the "The Former Black Swamp, Indiana" according to their MySpace page. But they may as well descended to us from the heavens or some other ether of celestial beauty because that's the only imaginable space I can conjure whenever I spin their gorgeous debut Ambling EP.

Metavari are a post-rock instrumental band with tinges of electronic and digital sounds, though I'd like to dispense with using ill-fitting tags to pin their music down because there's always a shining layer of natural textures behind the tracks that defies traditional post-rock sounds. On the sublime opening track, "Satellites Made It Possible" the song keeps to a quiet build, starting innocently enough with electric bleeps before chiming guitars pick and slide their way in amidst a ride cymbal that sounds like a church bell on a clear day. When track one ends, it's a sad moment. I'd like for it to go on for an additional 4 or 5 minutes. It's a short-lived sadness because there's the equally transcendent "Everything Is Fine" in line behind it.

The beats and synths are out in full force here; that's not to say they dominate the track (nor, I should add, is it necessarily bad that electronic instruments make such a good showing on the record). Metavari seem to have pinned the thin balance of interplay between natural and unnatural sounds; almost to suggest there should be no distinction between the two. Rather, they should align in unison, side-by-side. It's not a new concept to be sure, but it is one that is rarely executed so seamlessly. A listener might mistake one for the other if not paying attention.

The remainder of the album is just as soothing and structured. From the crystal chimes of "Road to Awe" to the controlled deconstruction of "There You Are," Metavari are on level with the giants of their genre (Mogwai, Explosions In the Sky, Panda Bear, etc). But, if their first EP is any indication, these five will probably be smart enough to subvert their work into something even greater than the sum of post-rock's collective parts. And I, for one, am looking forward to what they have to offer.

*Metavari will open for El Ten Eleven this Tuesday, June 24 at the Village Tavern in Mt Pleasant. Show starts @ 9PM for $6. Be there.*

MySpace (one of the best looking MySpace sites I've seen; listen to their cover of Panda Bear's "Comfy In Nautica")
Official Website
Buy their CD
Download from iTunes

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