Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ismism – February 6 at O Patro Vys

What does electro-acoustic post-rock even mean? Probably nothing. That's because arguably made-up genre classifications often fall short of the sounds they try to envelop in a few short words. It can be tough to admit, but sometimes academic (and, if I may, audiophilic) catch-alls aren't the best way to describe sounds that seem a bit out of the ordinary, or even a bit out of the Top 40.

To play a little name comparison game, Ismism can at times sound like what Boards of Canada would record after listening to & Yet & Yet and OK Computer on repeat. And repetition, it so happens, plays a large role in the earnest melodic developments that make the band's debut e.p. so inviting. This is not texture for texture's sake, aimless improvisation, or self-indulgent experimentation. The Ismism e.p. covers plenty of new iterative, slow-building ground without delving into an uninteresting abyss that can sometimes make instrumental rock a turn-off.

The disc's peak-and-valley structure mimics that of individual songs, making it easy to conceptualize the self-titled output a unified package, rather than a collection of stand-alone tracks. Fitting, then, that the five-piece's release show contained two extended halves, with songs flowing into one another through appropriately-timed lulls. Band members routinely dipped down to control samples through their floor-bound mixer, swapped or teamed up on instruments (vibraphone!), and exchanged numerous smiles and head-bobs, adding to the group effort that successfully put the music and the mood above any individual attention. (One unintentional exception may be bassist Alex LeBlanc's habit of walking on the spot to the beat – but that probably just means he's really into it.)

This collective, all-for-one feeling also helps to set the band apart from acts who focus solely one member, or that one unique aspect of their sound. Another largely unimportant peculiarity is the the fact that "the drummer" (also known as multi-instrumentalist, composer, and all-round nice guy Matt Daher) writes all the music. And after watching these songs build over the past year, I'm really looking forward to new works from Daher and friends. And did I mention they lug a fucking vibraphone to every gig?

Photos courtesy of Danya Z.


  1. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour..............................................

  2. This band sounds unreal. Never heard of them, but I'll be scrounging for material soon. & Yet & Yet + OK Computer sounds like constant repeat to me. Not to mention the photography in this post seems entirely fitting for the setting you've carved out.