Genre: Post-rock / Experimental
From: Brooklyn, New York
Dropped: 26 January 2010
Regret-o-Meter: A closet racist with a Black & White cookie. You really love certain parts, and there are other parts you wish you could love, but your biased and backward upbringing has permanently tainted you. Every glance at the half-finished cookie tears your heart apart a little more.
I downloaded Slow Six’s Tomorrow Becomes You for the same reason I download most post-rock albums I see: I love post-rock. I never listened to it for the same reason I never listen to post-rock: I’m never in the mood for post-rock. Those two statements may seem at odds, but I like to devote my full attention to post-rock— the fact that it is largely instrumental means that if I don’t, it slips into the back of my consciousness and I fail to really appreciate it. More often than not, I’m not willing to make that concession, so my stores of unlistened-to post-rock are hilariously large.
I equate the opening minutes of Tomorrow Becomes You to the first few moments of waking up before your alarm clock, your face drenched in weak sunlight that has crept in through the window. The music drones along drearily, not unlike dredg’s work on the Waterborne soundtrack, until an abrupt flourish of violins and percussion rudely snap you from your serene trance like that alarm you forgot to turn off. The difference here is that after a few brilliant seconds you openly invite the interloping staccato bursts as the track builds upon its own melodies and energies, transmogrifying into lush, orchestral ear-sex.
And as the track fades out you realize that nine minutes have passed.
The simple addition of a string section really makes this album for me. Slow Six play a very competent brand of post-rock that any fan of the genre would appreciate, but the expert use of strings is just about instantly enamoring.
In direct contrast to the immediacy of the strings, the gentle ambience and fragmented audio clips of “Could Cover (Pt. II)” bore me. To me, it’s less a sense of placidity like the opening minutes of “The Night You Left New York,” and more a sense of unfiltered noise and feedback. It’s a common component of a lot of post-rock, and I know quite a few aficionados who dig it, but I much prefer structure and harmony to atonality and noise. I guess I’m just a lame-o conformist.
“Because Together We Resonate” mixes structure with un-structure, pitting one violin against the other. It’s a neat track in that some of the notes strike me as sour and awful but I still like a good deal of it. “Sympathetic Response System (Pt. I)” introduces conspicuous electronics for the first time, giving the opening moments of the track a groovy, industrial feel. It’s easy to lose yourself in the soundscape of sweeping guitar lines and mechanical beeps and boops. I imagine this is the kind of music that robots have freaky robot sex to.
The final track, “These Rivers Between Us,” features more excellent violin wankery and quickly escalates into a full-on crescendo before the two-minute mark, devolving into delicious programming, a flurry of horns and a blast of triumphant guitars. A spectacular end to a spectacular album.
To anyone with even a mild interest in instrumental music, I can’t recommend Slow Six highly enough.