Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Destroy A City // Self-Titled

Every once in a while an album will stumble into my life and be able to completely transform my surroundings. The ability to be sonically transferred from your bedroom to an entire new environment is flooring. Earlier this year it was Tim Hecker's Ravedeath, 1972, with all it's suspense and unpredictability. Ravedeath, 1972 feels like a walk on a rickety old bridge. Unforgiving and overwhelming. To Destroy A City's self titled debut is what hopefully lies on the other side.

To Destroy A City is a Chicago based post-rock trio who formed last summer. According to their label, shortly after their formation "Earth-shaking personal events followed, uniting the group even further and fueling the group’s emotional and creative output." To Destroy A City is an dream-like journey through luscious sonic landscapes. From the solemn piano chords of its opening track, "Metaphor," to its rather euphoric uprisings in tracks like "Ilium," this release is truly an emotional roller coaster.

Reminiscent of Boards of Canada and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the trio takes you on a tour through enormous sounding dreamscapes. The level of ambience achieved here is masterful. The production on this album is shimmering. Strings are used on every track and, in conjunction with soaring guitar lines, swell to create an enormous backdrop for percussion and keys. On "Neuroitc Sea," "Ilium," and "Goodbye, Dear Friend" this swell keeps expanding until it erupts into anthemic melody. The sounds captured on this record truly lift you right up off of your computer chair and place you in a world dominated by unpredictability.

To Destroy A City explores a large away of sounds on this record. "Philosophy of a Knife" is a slow groove through melancholy ambience pushed forward by pulsating electronic percussion that leads you to, my favorite track, "Before the Outside's Gone." This one gets off to a slow start but as the drumming becomes increasingly complicated, additional melodic phrases are thrown into the mix, and the track explodes into an almost doomy refrain.

In many situations, an album that reaches for this level of ambience comes out a sonically homogenous, over-reverberated mess but To Destroy A City is a beautiful collection of massive soundscapes.

To Destroy A City is due out on 9/27 via n5MD, can be pre-ordered here, and streamed below.


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