Oiseaux-Tempête: Ütopiya? (CD, Sub Rosa, April 2015)

Over the last twenty-odd years, there have been many heinous crimes committed in the name of post-rock. This, however, is unashamedly post-rock, and it is stonkingly brilliant. It has quiet bits, with echoey guitars and ominous pianos and field recordings (including the obligatory street chatter with distant siren). It has loud bits, with heavy drumming and noisy angular guitars. It has vocal samples of a general left-wing protesty nature. Yes, it sounds a bit like Godspeed! much of the time (I really like Godspeed! by the way) and occasionally even like Slint (I like Slint, too). It’s also bursting at the seams creativity and energy and technical skill and emotional intensity. It prominently features a jazzy bass clarinet, which is a nice touch. One highlight is Ütopiya / On Living, which centres on two readings by G W Sok of poetry by the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, who spent much of his life imprisoned or persecuted for communism, who I hadn’t come across before but intend to investigate further (the verses are the third stanza of On Living, and It’s This Way). The CD version finishes with a 22-minute live recording called Palindrome Series: the recording is a touch muddy, especially noticeable after the spot-on production on the album proper, but it still really makes me want to go see them live. I guess this isn’t a very fashionable sort of record right now, but who cares when it is this good?

I bought this from the label.

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