A Cathartic Journey: Taking A Trip Down The Road Of Post-Rock
In 1994, an English music journalist and critic by the name of Simon Reynolds tagged the term ‘post-rock’ in a review of the 1994 Bark Psychosis album Hex.
Reynolds defined the term post-rock as “using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of textures and timbres rather than riffs and powerchords”. The genre emerged within the underground music scene of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and many artists to this day use the term post-rock when describing their music. Instead of following in the footsteps of traditional rock music, post-rock borrows from many different styles including techno, jazz, krautrock, dub reggae, electronica and musique concrete. When Reynolds first spoke about post-rock he was referring to bands like Slint, Talk Talk, Pram, Tortoise, Trans Am, Main, and as noted earlier, Bark Psychosis. Post-rock music continues on into the 2000’s, with bands like Mogwai, Sigur Ros, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor gaining popularity.
“If their trajectory had a precedent it was that of their heroes Talk Talk, who had pushed further into abstraction with each LP. The “Nothing Feels” single had been cold and dreamy enough to catch some of the Cocteau Twins’ crowd, but the Manman EP scraped the hard techno-futurism of the title track right up against the slow-release bliss of “Blood Rush” and progressive noise peaking of “Tooled Up.” The development from the early singles to the Manman EP can also be partly attributed to the band taking on keyboardist Daniel Gish, who had been playing with their nearby peers, Disco Inferno…
When “A Street Scene,” Hex’s first and only single, was released into the typically slow post-Christmas marketplace, the UK music weeklies did take notice. Simon Williams, reviewing the singles that week of January 15 for the NME, leaned on a tongue-in-cheek tone (“hardly Dannii Minogue in excelsis“), but also offered the not-unkind “Punk Floyd, in a nutshell.” Handling the same section for that week’s Melody Maker, Peter Paphides wrote of “A Street Scene” that, ‘Bark Psychosis purists will be relieved to know that there’s still nothing as straightforward as a lyric or a two-part harmony. However, what you do get is a beautifully disembodied guitar amble bolstered in the lead-up to — wait for it! — a chorus by some agreeable Miles Davis-style parping.’ ” —Stereogum
This article was written by Patric Jones a student in the Clive Davis Institute x Billboard Music Industry Essentials program.