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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Speaker Gain Teardrop - Particle Protocol (2008) (AWESOME !!!)

Genre : Post-rock, Ambient, Electronica, Experimental

Tracklist :

o1. First Step
o2. Colophon
o3. Particle Protocol
o4. Charcoal Feather
o5. Abbreviation
o6. Giving Tree
o7. Galaksio
o8. Colophon #02 (Kashiwa Daisuke Remix)
<<< AWESOME !!!

I listened to Speaker Gain Teardrop for the first time on the night of a great thunderstorm, at least great in relation to my metropolitan area. Our reservoirs had been dropping in depth for months, and the news weather forecasts had been typically devoid of the little blue raindrop icons and green ambiguous blobs signifying rainfall. That was several weeks ago, and the mood created by the band seemed synchronous with the feeling of the need for that pleasantly overcast mood that invades the soul when dark clouds are raging. During my most recent attempt at giving their recent release Particle Protocol an intense listen, I was greeted again by the pattering sound of rain on nearby windows and the gentle rumble signifying an incoming torrent. It seems that my relationship with Speaker Gain Teardrop and torrential downpours are meant to be related, and as I drove in the early morning post-storm environment of the city I realized how perfectly the moods created by both complement each other.

Not since the cymbal caressing opening notes of Do Make Say Think’s And Yet And Yet have I been so instantly taken hold of by an intensely grabbing album opener as Particle Protocol’s appropriately titled “First Step”. As with DMST’s epic 2002 release, I was gently stricken somewhere in that place where emotion and music sometimes (and rarely) collide, an attention catching pleasantry that grows into what most listeners will be happy to follow along with. “First Step” sets the stage for something truly mindblowing before confusingly dropping off after a mere two and a half minutes into a void filled somewhat awkwardly by the second track “Colophon” - a track which, despite its engaging title, is one of the more disappointing efforts on the LP. The group clearly has an intention with the song and laces it with an effectively eerie piano chord repetition; reading the track listing, you notice it’s concluded by a second part that serves as the album’s much stronger closing track that holds the listener for a strong ten minutes to finish out the album.

I’m not sure why, but the advent of solid Japanese post-rock acts in the last few years has been one of the more pleasantly surprising additions to our little corner of the music world. American youth are taught to regard the Japanese as primarily analytical, an image of professionalism mixed with an unemotional politeness. I first realized the fury and emotion that the Japanese can muster at an intimate performance by island-wunderkind Mono, whose incredible waves of sound are combined with an impressively passionate and calculated stage performance. I can’t claim to have had the pleasure of seeing Speaker Gain Teardrop perform live, but as another Japanese self-proclaimed post-rock act hailing from the historically notorious city of Hiroshima, the group hits your ears more like the gentle rays of sunlight that sneak brilliantly in between tree trunks in the early morning and only hint at the true intensity from whence they come. I can’t imagine anyone would hear those tender opening chords of “First Step” and not be enticed to follow Speaker Gain Teardrop where they calmly and semi-brilliantly lead. Standout tracks “Particle Protocol” and “Abbreviation” will convince even more veteran or jaded post-rock listeners that the Hiroshima three-piece will be making more of the Novel Sounds put out by their aptly described label of that very phrase.

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