Post-Rock is one of the subgenres of classic rock music which is easy to identify thanks to its prefix. It is a development that originated from such musical styles as shoegazing and krautrock, which emerged in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Due to the fact that this genre is experimental, which means that it has already undergone and continues to go through many metamorphoses, an effort to offer a complete description of its inherent features can be a pretty intricate task. Many music periodicals focus on the main, distinctive feature of this musical genre, which is the unconventional use of the musical instruments that are peculiar to classic rock. To be slightly more precise, key aspects of this genre are more reminiscent of ambient, jazz, and electronic music than of rock music itself. The groovy riffs and chords have faded into the background, replaced by melody, atmosphere, and musicality. Another feature of this genre consists of its almost complete refusal to employ vocals. This is not a universal or an obligatory rule, but the fact remains: the vast majority of bands that position themselves as Post-Rockers manage to get along without vocal accompaniment.
For instance, the band called Sigur Ros uses voice parts written in their own, made-up language that takes the form of an additional instrument, like guitar, bass, or drums. The main purpose of vocals, as delivered by this particular band, is to serve as part of the melody.
The third characteristic of Post-Rock can be described as a certain flirting with electronic music and its inclusion into compositions. Oftentimes, this happens with such bands as This Will Destroy You that have made their sound much more electronic and experimental. As a result, the album “Tunnel Blanket” is much more similar to the sound of the Drone’y and Sunn o)) bands than to the classical compositions of the genre which I’m trying to describe here. Post-Rock has acquired the tendency to improvise from jazz; it develops structure as the melody is slowly but surely developing within the song, gleaming and striving towards its culmination.
Here is a short acquaintance list to achieve a practical familiarization with this genre of music.
God is an Astronaut. “All is Violent, All is Bright” (2005)
Back in day, God is an Astronaut was probably the most in-demand and popular band of this genre. Even people who were unfamiliar with this style of music found that the band’s unsophisticated melodies somehow found their way into their musical sensibility and souls. In my humble opinion, this particular album, which is the brainchild of this Irish band, would be a perfect way for readers to become acquainted with the Post-Rock genre. It will bring the first time listener to an exact impression that will help to formulate an answer to the simple question, “Does this genre suit you or not?”
Tortoise – “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” (1996)
This album just had to be included on our list. In fact, the release of this particular album, which happened back in 1996, marked the emergence of the Post Rock genre. This is the album that served as the starting point for a long journey. There were many active bands even before 1996, but the earlier works were not consummate enough to be regarded as the fully-fledged beginning of the genre. The “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” album is considered to be the final stage in the development of Post Rock in its conventional form.
This Will Destroy You – “Tunnel Blanket” (2011)
I’ve already mentioned this incredibly significant album, the sound of which is quite similar to “Noise and Drone.” It was selected to demonstrate the diversity of this genre as well as the results of specific experiments that were carried out by the musicians.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Luciferian Towers” (2017)
One of the most influential Post-Rock bands, the history of which goes back more than 25 years, has recently released yet another wonderful album.
And So I Watch You from Afar – “The Endless Shimmering” (2017)
This band, from Northern Ireland, bears little resemblance to most musical groups because their sound is much more similar to classic rock, reminiscent of southern rock and also partially stoner. It is a perfect illustration of the great variety of possibilities and inflections which are intrinsic to Post-Rock.