Skyed Pillars – Cloud Opus – Album Review
THIS. This is my genre. Hello and WELCOME to my new friend Christian P. Bassett – all the way from Munich, Germany – the mastermind behind the songs of Skyed Pillars and the new album Cloud Opus. Where have YOU been? Oh sleepingbagstudios…how I have waited for this day when you would finally present me with some brilliant and beautiful, emotional INDIE post-rock. Like I said – it took a while – but let me assure you I’ve found what I was looking for in Cloud Opus from Skyed Pillars.
No lie – I listen to the BEST of the BEST in every genre I can get my ears around – but the post-rock category is something I truly hold dear to my heart and feel like I know inside and out. When words fail me as a writer, I can put songs on from amazing bands like Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai, Fuck Buttons, Godspeed You Black Emperor, This Will Destroy You and let these bands play out my moods through instrumental sonic journeys. I will now be counting Skyed Pillars in with these giants. Christian P. Bassett is clearly a man that has not only gone after the sound and sonic textures that he loves to hear – he has absolutely inserted himself right into this genre and taken all the right elements of post-rock to a completely beautiful level.
Cloud Opus opens with the title track – a twelve-plus minute masterpiece that both sets the tone for the strength/consistency of the album and manages to get right the most important element post-rock does best: It explodes. One of the most magical elements in the tracks of this style are the relentless crescendos that rise with such extremity and ferociousness that the calm breaks that reside just in the distance seconds after can make you feel like you’re the only person left listening on earth.
Take a track like “Davenport Creek” from Skyed Pillars and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Push play and close your eyes; you’ll know when you’re a minute and a half into the song – I can promise you that. Christian has an unbelievable gift for tone and melody in his playing – doesn’t matter WHICH of the parts you dissect in this one-man powerhouse – any instrument he seems to touch begins to leak golden-flowing, beautiful music. Through the timing and precise nature of the songs he demonstrates a dedicated care to his craft and continually finds room to make the songs contract and expand, becoming organic with lives of their own.
“Short” – as in there are only five tracks – or “long” if you’re comparing it to his peers in Godspeed You Black Emperor! At minimum you are with Christian along for a music festival complete with fireworks inside of each track for eight minutes. With two of the tracks over twelve minutes long – the melodies and music have GOT to make an impact and make the listener want to keep it playing for the duration without skipping to the next song – and again, Skyed Pillars deliver the goods on every track – leaving me wanting for nothing else and completely 100% satisfied.
There are people that perhaps might hear a song like “Creation” and say it’s TOO close to what Explosions In The Sky are doing. Think of it this way – instrumental music has a fantastic way of communicating as well – something like this, a song that starts with so many parallels to Explosions before an adventurous synth departure, that perhaps the title “Creation” alludes to the inspiration and the influences Christian has encountered on the way. In any event – when the song bursts into drums three and a half minutes in, you get a real sense of where Skyed Pillars can take this post-rock thing.
Music has and always will be a FEELING; great instrumental music can always translate the emotions we feel and describe in words into tones and rhythms that can shake you as easily as the most profound prose you’ve ever read. It can tell a story and it can captivate and dominate the attention of your imagination – it can take you to a whole new musical plane where thoughts become emotion and emotion becomes vibrant tone and rich melodic layering.
I could (And WILL) eat this album for breakfast, dinner and lunch. The playing, structure and production are all in line – Cloud Opus is crisp and clear and absolutely HUGE. On a broad appeal – the album is so painstakingly perfected that anyone could enjoy it – and on a personal level it’s such an incredible match to my musical taste it leads me to wonder if Christian has been on Google-Earth and searching SBS daily to spy on what I’m having for breakfast and what I’ve been listening to! Skyed Pillars have made absolutely incredible music that I will be reaching for consistently and constantly.
As the album begins to close with the final track “Fated Children;” I’m suddenly hit with a certainty that this IS my favorite indie album that I’ve come across in the journey of sleepingbagstudios so far. Though our followers know I try not to judge or play favorites – there’s absolutely no denying this. By incorporating more synth and keys into the tracks as well – Skyed Pillars are ensuring that their place in this world is more than unique enough unto themselves along with a permanent residence in my earhole. We’ve commented many times on playing on the inside of an influence without simply copying a style – and while this band might have the formula down pat for the perfect post-rock symphony – Skyed Pillars are no copy and certainly no accident; this is beautiful music made with excellence from a band that will surely see the respect of its peers and fans of the genre alike.
GO GET CLOUD OPUS HERE: http://skyedpillars.bandcamp.com/album/cloud-opus
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