Will It Blend: Minimalist Post-Rock

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Greetings to the KSPC community! I’m experimenting with a feature idea called “Will It Blend?” that deals with a new music-esque question every week or so. It is meant to provoke thought, so feel free to leave loads of comments. I don’t claim to know everything about every genre, but don’t hesitate to let me know if I’m mistaken, if you disagree, or agree. This week: Do minimalism and post-rock blend?

Whilst reviewing Gilded’s “Terrane,” I realized that much appreciation of “good” music focuses on how complicated the songs are. Guitarists are praised for their ability to shred, and excellent classical pianists will be able to play multiple melodies at once (see “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” for an epic example). Pop music frequently comes under fire for the simple, driving rhythms that easily hook casual listeners. While I have no problem with any of these genres (I love a hot guitar solo in progressive metal), there is a case to be made for the ability to restrain oneself.

Post-rock is quite a broad genre, and does not worry as much about complicated rhythms. Nonetheless, bands like Tortoise and Yndri Halda can sometimes have rather technical elements to their songs. Gilded seems to reject this entirely; their album combines early minimalist music with the chill factor of yoga, blended together with a post-rock soundscape. Don’t expect more than a few instruments to be going at once, or for the groove to drastically change, or for a complicated chord progression. Rather, this is a zen album that calls to mind sitting around a campfire out in the middle of Nowhere Woods. When even one note is changed in the groove, you will immediately notice. This is not music for any time-I’d listen to it when I’m trying to relax before bed.  But they get major props for embracing simplicity as a key element of musical genius-and that’s why minimalism and post-rock blend.

 

-Kai Fukutaki

KSPC Blogger

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