65daysofstatic – No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe

65daysofstatic - No Man's Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe 65daysofstatic release a new album on 5th August. No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is the official soundtrack to the computer game, No Man’s Sky.

65daysofstatic are Paul Wolinski, Joe Shrewsbury, Rob Jones and Simon Wright. They were formed in Sheffield in 2001. Avoiding the confines of genres such as post-rock nonsense has seen the group continue to evolve over the course of the past 5 years on their own terms, treading their own path. At times their instrumentals are full of serene beauty and colour. But equally, they employ brutally sonic attacks on the senses. 65daysofstatic have developed a unique sound with a broad aural palette and a delight in mashing the extremes of noise rock guitars and electronica experimentalism with crashing beats and solid rhythms.

Their debut album, The Fall of Math, was released in 2004 and received wide critical acclaim. Reviewing the album for Drowned In Sound, Thomas Blatchford wrote: “an album that can retain the dynamics, fraught tension and climactic explosiveness of its peers and influences, whilst still sounding like one of the most urgent and direct long-player releases of the year.”

’No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe’ contains 10 new songs that make up the official soundtrack for the computer game, along with an additional six beautifully colourful ‘soundscapes’, exclusive to this release. The album presents a restless, overwhelming experience. ’No Man’s Sky’ is full of space, dense noise, at times serene, at others archaic. This is sublime music for post-acid dripping science fiction played out in an unknown galaxy. The album conjures up the beauty and loneliness of space and is everything that you would expect from a 65daysofstatic album of epic proportions. Played loud, with no video game distraction, No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is like a powerful techno-coloured acid trip in space.

65daysofstatic

65daysofstatic have previously released five studio albums, The Fall of Math , One Time for All Time, The Destruction of Small Ideas, We Were Exploding Anyway and Wild Light; and one other soundtrack, Silent Running released in 2011 – an alternate soundtrack to the 1972 science fiction film of the same name, commissioned by Glasgow Film Festival.

65daysofstatic – No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is released on 5th August 2016 as a digital download, 2x CD, 2x vinyl album & 4x vinyl album deluxe boxset.

Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock by Jack Chuter

Storm Static Sleep - A Pathway Through Post-Rock by Jack Chuter

I believe most music genres are nothing more than suitable titles for journalists to write about something of nothing.  Brit Pop is probably the best example. Where there was no movement, no classification and generally speaking, nothing cohesive about the artists that were told they belonged to this genre.  Simply devised as a way for British journalists to write about home grown music, swamped by American culture, in much the same way Cliff Richard was hyped by the NME in the 1950s as our very own answer to Elvis Presley,   Brit Pop was nothing more than British Pop Music!

So I was intrigued to read Jack Chuter‘s new book, Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock.  A genre name that was originally coined by music journalist Simon Reynolds in a Melody Maker article in 1993.  He went on to use the term several times until the term began to get used in wider circles. One phrase he used to somehow gel different artists with one tag is “rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes” – a definition Reynolds used in a 1994 article for The Wire.

Jack Chuter introduces his book and the foundations of post-rock by way of a sea-change in the music emanating from two bands independently at the turn of the 1990s.  Talk Talk in London and Slint in Louisville USA.

At the time, I was deeply absorbed by Talk Talk and the way they had re-created themselves from being a second-rate synth pop boy band in the early 1980s to the altogether more brooding, spacey and jazz-influenced direction of The Colour Of Spring in 1986.  While their last album, The Laughing Stock (1991) is one of the most dynamic, powerful and absorbing albums I have ever heard. For me, there was a natural progression from The Colour Of Spring, through Spirit Of Eden (1988) and arriving at a masterpiece.  But even so, it was unlike anything I had ever heard before.  But disenchanted with the music press some years before, I was unaware I was listening to something that would be generally be perceived as the foundation of post-rock.

Storm Static Sleep chronicles the evolution of post-rock and it’s rise in popularity through chapters covering the bands that have defined the genre.  In writing this book, Jack Chuter undertook over 30 interviews with some of the most influential names and figures including Mogwai, Tortoise, Steve Albini, Mono, Isis, Slint, Sunn O))), This Will Destroy You, Disco Inferno, Piano Magic, Constellation Records as well as writer Simon Reynolds, the main proliferator of the term ‘post-rock’ itself.

Each chapter of the book explores a different stage of post-rock’s development, by looking at the influence and sound of key bands as well as the insight of influential writers of the time. The chapters not only discuss how the bands all fit within the post-rock bracket but they also explore what directed them to this particular style and what they achieved musically in doing so. ‘Storm Static Sleep’ doesn’t just set out to explicate and contextualise the history of post-rock, but to also re-define what post-rock actually is and means to those who were and are directly and inadvertently enveloped by the term.

In one chapter, Chuter interviews Simon Reynolds.  As I began reading the book my head was filled with other likely contenders to the roots of post-rock.  The likes of Public Image, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Krautrock,  Prog Rock – artists and previous genres that would most definitely have influenced this so-called movement, if not be tenuously connected by the definitions themselves.  A smile spread across my face as the Chuter and Reynolds recounted the very same names and thoughts, in the book.

“In some ways ‘post-rock’ is just a continuation of impulses that crop up within the progressive era, and then again with post-punk. Leaving behind rock, taking on outside influences, responding to the cutting edge of black music, etherealizing to the point of losing the rhythmic pulse ” – Simon Reynolds,

Over the past twenty-five years post-rock has evolved from a handful of bands challenging the dynamics, timbre and conventional format and concept of rock songwriting, into a scene with a huge international community of likeminded artists and fans. Not only does post-rock now have its own dedicated festivals such as ArcTanGent but it is also widely used in soundtracks, advertising and has become a broadly accepted genre that attracts new listeners every day.

Storm Static Sleep is a brilliant read.  The best book on music I have read for a very long time.  It’s up there with Simon Reynolds’ fantastic Rip It Up & Start Again on post-punk music for the very same reasons – it is very well written, and with such passion and knowledge that Chuter’s enthusiasm adorns every page.

Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock by Jack Chuter is published by Function Books.

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