Thursday, June 6, 2013

In The Aeroplane, Hold.

Michael Bay directing Christie Front Drive.

That's not, technically speaking, true, but the sentence is pithy enough for retweets, so it stays in. It's a little bit true, though. Or maybe it's just that Eric Richter is singing. Hold has a very wide scope. Post-rock is the obvious genre tag.

My first listen to Hold was strange. I was on a plane to Peru and got two hours sleep the night before. So, I drifted in and out of light sleep while Hold played. The effect was disorienting and felt like the experience was swathed in a dreamlike haze. I'd wake up in one song, fall asleep and arise in another. I couldn't (or chose not to) grasp anything of tracklisting or detail. I could only glimpse at the music, through the shroud of fatigue and chance. Authorial intent? I'd been in transit a solid 14 hours.

When I touched down in Lima, I knew I wanted to hear Hold again.
There's an element of colossal, ethereal melody to the endeavor. It's not just the three guitars, though that helps. My knowledge of shoegaze is limited, so I'm not sure what the right language is for massive moments. I believe Highness' members all understand soft/loud dynamics and Richter's voice has a range of melody that they can dig into. Try The Out_Circuit as a comparison. Both go heavy into the soft/loud dynamics but use both fairly naturally, due to the composers previous bands.

Hold is 2 a.m. music, I believe. My touchstone for that is Deafheaven or Envy, but likely yours are better than mine. Explosions In The Sky? Maybe? I believe the softer songs work better than the heavier ones. And heaviness is relative, here. It's not Hope Conspiracy, but Highness can get aggressive. (See "Stitched Together.") "Forking Roads," which immediately follows "Stitched Together" is a wonderful instrumental, one of my favorites since the first two and a half minutes of "A Bridge Too Far."

Holds runs for about 37 minutes over nine tracks. Of the nine, one's an 1:38 interlude and the final track is a :38 outro, with all but one of the songs being longer than a rough 4:30. I suspect that my first listen insulated me somewhat from the minor, but noticeable meandering in the compositions.

Listening to Hold like a sane human being would, front to back, without repeating tracks or sleep deprivation, gives a fairly clear "objective" assessment. It's an excellent  post-rock record, sewn together with Richter's voice, which sounds well suited for the task. His bandmates know how to hold down the rock end of things, and what you get is oriented in that direction, with Richter giving the players an excuse to try those melodies they've heard so much about in their previous bands but never quite got around to.

I don't know if you'll want to listen to Hold drifting in and out of sleep, but the experience was one that turned the familiar act of listening to a bunch of .mp3 files called a record into something exciting and unexpected. Whatever I heard, I heard and whatever I got out of it was my thoughts, without my thirty million filters collectively called the synthesis of my opinion.

In summation: I listened to Hold a couple different ways and I liked it both times. I suspect I'll still like it at the end of this year and perhaps the next. You can buy it here.

This is no longer representative of Highness, but the video I was going to use can't be found using Blogger, so, instead, here's something not quite as good, but still Highness' music.

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