Leech, God is an Astronaut, Massive Attack
Post-rock is such a fascinating genre, as it can motivate you with uplifting, building rhythms or ensue a feeling of sadness with soft eloquent interludes. Every once in a while we stumble upon a band that expands the boundaries of their respective genre. Whether it is good or bad, we need these artists to branch out and inject life into their music. Nihiling, from Hamburg, Germany are a four-piece Post-rock band that does just this. On their latest release Same from Kapitän Platte Records, they don’t hold themselves to just Post-rock, they throw in elements of unusual electronics, prog rock, a touch of jazz and some ambience. You could actually label this as Modern Post-rock. Nililing is comprised of four very talented musicians, Alex, Gorka, Janni and Marco and collectively they have brought us an unusual, out-of-the ordinary Post-rock album.
The soft piano on “Very Large Telescope,” the albums opening track will draw you in. This instrumental progresses ever so beautifully, when the percussion, synths and guitars come into play it just culminates into an all-out Post-rock theme; it’s a very nice beginning. Track two, “Plot” is easygoing and eloquent as the male vocals arrive and are soft, joined with the captivating, lonesome and spacey guitars. The song starts to take form at 2:59 minutes in when the female vocals are introduced and it’s a wonderful addition. These two singers really know how to feed off one another, it is something we don’t hear enough of within this genre. We will hear this further along in other songs as the dueling vocalists add an element of wistfulness that elevates this album.
The third cut, “Do Not Make Me Axe You Again” gives off this modern Post-rock feel we mentioned. The snapping along with the uplifting guitars and tight percussion that sometimes sound electronic makes this a standout track. The song goes through valleys of soft compositions to heavy all-out jam sessions, it’s a very well-structured song, we are quite confident you will not hear anything that sounds like this. Track four, “Hips” first felt out of place, it is mostly electronic ambiance in vein of Massive Attack. The female vocals are distorted and unusual, to be honest, the more you listen, the song becomes entrancing and really adds some variety to the album. Another unique track is “Tragic” and this one has very involved. The Post-rock, ambient jazz-like beginning is terrific, yes, we know it sounds like too many genres thrown in, but give it a chance. The two vocalists are terrific as well on this song. At 3:36 in the tempo changes to an Explosions in the Sky style of jam, it’s a great contrast from the beginning of the song; you’ll think “how the hell did they get here?”
Moving onto the lonely and appealing “The Universe is Something That Happens,” this song has some jazz-like qualities buried deep within. This track definitely shows their ability to take Post-rock to new heights. We particularly love the bass in the slow, heavy churning rhythm towards the end. Closing the album is “The Lesson of Being Who We Are”. This song is led by the saddened piano along with sullen guitars and a spacious, powerful percussion that follow. We think there is an actual flute being played in the beginning to middle parts, if it is, it’s brilliant. The song just keeps building and gaining strength until it bottoms out to a lonely piano at the 4:42 mark. The soft sensual female vocals arrive and it’s very relaxing. The song just hangs around for a minute or two, creating a nice ending to another terrific album from Kapitän Platte Records.
We are very intrigued by Nihiling and applaud their mindset to take things to another level and break the rules of Post-rock. It will be fascinating to see where they can take their unique style as they have left things open and can go in so many directions. Hopefully they will embark on a tour in the US; it would be quite an interesting show. - 11/15/2014
Standout Tracks: Plot, Tragic, The Universe is Something That Happens