The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

paperplane: A Walk Through the Ashes

3681201141-1Reviewing genres you don’t enjoy should be avoided as a rule. There is already an implied bias present. Oh sure, arguments could be presented as to why a genre as whole deserves to be dismissed. Eavesdropping on many conversations you would hear commentary bearing out my overall distaste for rap, country and ambient music. It is just one man’s opinion however, and there are always the odd exceptions. Still, subjects such as these should probably be avoided on this blog.

Which brings up the question as to why this review was even considered. I don’t actually hate ambient music or post rock. A little bit included as interlude is fine but an entire album grows tedious very quickly. Still there are voices constantly assuring me bands like Sigur Rós need to be in my rotation. Recognizing that many people are big fans, including some well-respected friends, it was hard to turn my back on a direct recommendation. Against better judgment this favor will be done, with objectivity being operative word.

Being a prog geek, it must have been the artistic qualities of “A walk Through the Ashes” that my buddy thought would have appeal. He was correct in that assumption. Paperplane excels at weaving musical textures. The tempos remain largely consistent which provides the canvas to which other elements are applied. Noise is also a consistent technique as you might expect with post rock. Vocals are used sparsely and kept blended into the mix. It is the guitar that carries each piece along. The strings are played carefully at steady pace with the rest of the mélange. You will never hear an abrupt jam.

It is the placement of elements and structure that indicate the quality of what the band has composed. Even though it is not my cup of tea, talent is hard to obscure. How painstakingly these tracks were put together is obvious. The achievement does not stop at technical success. This is music after all and it must provide a more esoteric satisfaction. Every track on “A walk Through the Ashes” does that as well. The music is subdued to the point of somber, but remains generally uplifting. It touches the imagination, as all good music should. Isn’t that what it’s really for anyway?

I doubt paperplane will be pouring out of my speakers that often, if at all. This is for those of you who really dig post rock and ambient. I think you will find it stands up with some of your favorites.

Duncan Lockie
Alex Lockie
James Woolcock

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