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CD Feature/ Caspian: "The Four Trees"

img  Tobias

Audio books have been one of the major trends in Germany over the past few years. Publishing houses have declared a state of emergenyc and entered a bidding war aimed at convincing popular stars ranging from smart actors to dull anchormen to read the latest literary blockbusters to the culturally starved masses for them. Nourished by the nostalgic desire to fall asleep to comforting words and the consoling sound of a warm voice, the hype has been so utterly universal and its triumph so sweeping that it has managed to completely wipe out remembrance of the fact that, traditionally, music was once considered the ideal medium of telling stories. As modest as their contribution will ultimately be amidst an ocean of superficial navelgazing soulbearing, Caspian make a strong case for the return of those times on their second full-length release.

The Bostonians five-piece are in no need of vocals, lyrics or clever song titles to acomplish this feat. In their hands, the myth that only songs structured into verse and chorus are capable of transporting meaningful messages crumbles into a pithy fabrication of the Pop industry. What was once helplessly refered to as „Post Rock“ and is now even more destitutely labelled „Neo-Post-Rock“ turns out to be a music which draws creative blood from much more than just Punk, Metal, Electro, Industrial and other traditional influences of the genre. Melody has returned, harmony emancipated and arrangements have grown from spartanic coolness to a rich caleidoscope of moods. Somewhat paranoid anti-commercial future-angst has given way to honest introspection and songs deal foremost with personal themes anyone can relate to.

In line with its intimate confessions, „The Four Trees“ therefore often comes across as a dreamy work eschewing the by now cliched outbursts of tremolo-exultation: Long, atmospheric introductions guide the listener by the hand into slowly simmering structures based on sweet but powerful acoustic and electric Guitar lines, relaxed Bass loops, muscular but never ecstatic Drumming and a scintillating sheet of suggestive drones. Ambient („Our Breath in Winter“), Kraut- („The Dove“) and Progressive Rock („Moksha“) have seeped in through the cracks in the open minds of the band, resulting in multistylistic tracks with plenty of energy, momentum and natural flow. Using both seamless seguing and complimentary contrasts between tracks has created an irresistible pull and an aura of suprise: You never quite know what you to expect next.

In comparison to the monumental epics of bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Caspian furthermore lay claim to yet another striking attribute. Focussing on narration instead of hypnosis, their works eschew mechanical repetition and linear dynamics as a compositional tool, prefering gradual transformations instead. With unerring precision, pieces unfold without once looking back according to a logic each listener needs to figure out for himself. If you think certain motives are returning at later stages, that may not necessarily point to deliberate premeditation, but rather demonstrates that this selection is forged according to a plan outside of the world of words. In its most lucid moments, „The Four Trees“ is intelligent music built on a foundation of pure emotion – and like falling asleep to someone you love reading a book to you.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Caspian
Homepage: May My Day Records

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