“Holofon” – ‘Dorena’ & “Everybody Knows We’re Thieves” – ‘Jagat Skad’

Since our return to prison…

[coughs] I mean, school…

Life managed to catch up with me in a number of ways, and I’ve been struggling to pump out the reviews as the homework mounts and my talents are needed elsewhere. For about a solid three-weeks, I’ve been scouring the web for music worthy of my quarry. And for a solid three-weeks, I’ve managed to find some a-okay bands that you could probably find yourself and disregard the next day, that’s how forgettable they are, peoples…

But I’ve managed to utilise my ace-in-the-hole ‘Jagat Skad’, in tandem with one ‘Dorena’ that I’ve only just managed to finish listening to. They’re both somewhat fantastical in their own right, and they seem worthy enough for you guys to listen to. This week, it’s a new horizon, and I’ve found some postrock/ambient/shoegazing-bands that should keep you on your toes.

I know, you’re wondering why I said they’re different to say, oh, ‘Kyte’, for instance. Every band is unique in that they are able to manipulate music in various ways – just because they slot-in to a genre that’s relatively best-suited to them doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same. So, now that that’s off my chest, I’ll start with ‘Dorena’s’ “Holofon”.

"Holofon" - 'Dorena'

"Holofon" - 'Dorena'

I do love what “Holofon” brings into the post-rock genre. Where ‘Kyte’ utilised its fabulous vocals and tied them together with their percussion and string, here, ‘Dorena’ have muted the vocals, and strung together wholesome songs that are full of vibrant rhythm. A Swedish five-member band, spread in the city of Gothenburg, came together in ’07 and began their musical preaching. Four of the five members were previously part of screamo, and when their lead-singer dropped, they reformed. Like a caterpillar, my friends – ‘Dorena’ is a fine example of a well-maturing butterfly that has evolved, and taken with it, elements from its screamo and collaborated with postrock to form an amazing band not frightened to be soft and delicate…

I think it’s safe enough to say that ‘Dorena’ has reminiscent values that I would apply to ‘Mogwai’ – specifically – “The Hawk Is Howling”. It’s the second time I’ve exampled ‘Mogwai’ in my reviews, but I think they’re legends, and they’re supreme pioneers for the postrock genre. They’ve been doing it for years, and probably will be for many to come – ‘Dorena’ is only just starting, and should get better with age and maturity.

The album, although seven tracks long, pushes close to an hour – each track lengths, on average, for about five-minutes upwards. ‘Fantasia’ is an exception [3:11], and opens “Holofon” with some flitting ambience, background noise – which I would liken to ‘Konntinent’s’ “Degrees Integers” in that ‘Dorena’ brings together street-traffic ambience, birds, people, conversations, etc, etc, and mixes it with some wavy synth that’s quite sublime. I know some people think that ambient music has with it no real instrument to take the lead, but I think, in such circumstances, it makes up for it with synth that shifts about in its octaves to give the impression of notes and a rhythm. Don’t be put off by this, think of it as a prologue to a good book – although, in this instance, “Holofon” manages to keep things fresh and different with the inclusion of lead instruments that appear after this.

Evident in its second track “Till Vaning Tretton”, where a piano takes you through the ambience, guided with it, the plucking of guitars. It replaces vocals with instruments, and like good post-rock, mixes-it-up, so to speak – not just the same da-da-da

Da-dee-dum…

It’s difficult to pull apart each and every song. I’ll relate it to the book-metaphor: taking apart “Holofon” would be like reading the second chapter first, then the last, so on, until it is finished. This album needs to be played through from start to finish – because each song has entangled itself with the next. After you’ve listened to the first, the second has just a little bit more, then the next, just a little bit more. And when you think they’re just going to stay soft, it’s like ‘Mogwai’s’ “Batcat” – [I know it’s your favourite on the track, Hodder, man] – they suddenly jump into some heavy guitar and percussion. Totally different from what you’d expect!!!

It’s absolutely great for shoegazing– now that I know what it is. All’s you need do, peoples, is sit back, watch your feet, and enjoy!

So, when it comes to a rating, I’ll give it four outta five books – certainly up there with ‘Dickens’ and the likes, not you’re miserable ‘Harry Potter’ I can assure you. 10-$20 is modest, and I think very fair.

"Everybody Knows We're Thieves" - 'Jagat Skad'

"Everybody Knows We're Thieves" - 'Jagat Skad'

As I was saying before, ‘Jagat Skad’s’ “Everybody Knows We’re Thieves” has been my ace-in-the-hole ever since my music-finding abilities went dry. So I’ve been keeping this back for a little while, say, probably pushing on a month. A German five-member band, centred in Berlin, differ themselves from ‘Dorena’ in that they feature two vocalists [Merlin, Sebastian], and perhaps have more of an indie influence then they do a post-rock one. If I had to come clean, and describe them both, I’d imagine them as a mix between ‘Peter Garret’ from Australia’s ‘Midnight Oil’, meets a masculine-version of ‘Bjork’. Then, add some synth-rock + ambience in the background, the occasional use of guitar and percussion…

And there you have it!

One ‘Jagat Skad’ “Everybody Knows We’re Thieves”.

Don’t hold that against them, this band is not even close to either. The album, sadly, isn’t especially lengthy. So songs don’t push much beyond the three minute mark [you’ll find that the first and last go beyond 6 minutes – but it’s to be expected with their position]. So it’s really missing the ‘meat’that goes in the middle, it’s a delectable-looking hamburger, missing the patty, but has some extra gherkins [not those crappy McDonald’s ones either]…

So…

You’re getting something that sounds great and has excellent potential to become something more than what ‘Jagat Skad’already is. It’s this amazing potential that makes a good band – the possibility to escape the genre-rut. Track-wise, we’ve got some great music happening. The first, “Youth Flows By”, features ‘Bjork’-esque vocals, then shifts to ‘Peter Garret’-esque when it arrives at the second “Stand In Line“. But generally there is a good mix between the both of them [Merlin, Sebastian]. And these are, perhaps, the most memorable of the album. How the first has its vocals creep in out of the dark midway, how the second has it’s throughout instead, with synth and percussion backing up to a strong crescendo.

Finally, “Mona Lisa” is perhaps their finest example. It’s great ambience ties in masterfully with a creepy-organ that will send shivers running up and down your spine. The howl of some mechanical sound in the background dances with the vocals and the organ, and three become a chilling-trio that could almost be mistaken for a lost track belonging to “The Recordings Of The Middle East”, which my counterpart introduced me to a while back [which is absolutely fantastic]. Then, a sudden shift, a piano, takes control, and we’re up, up and away with percussion, organ and piano all as one. A chorus of voices. The moment, the pinnacle, and I believe, the turning point that will leave you wanting more!

Such a fittingly-named title deserves recognition – an artwork that you simply can’t take your eyes off, and smiles in every direction of perception. Rating it, again, I’m going to have to give it three-and-a-half outta five Mona Lisa’s, it’s great, but I want more, and am expecting more if they make it past this album.

Great, nonetheless

Check out their page for songs and more details!

 http://www.myspace.com/jagatskad

Until when,

The Enantiomorphic God

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~ by enantiomorphicgod on April 23, 2009.

One Response to ““Holofon” – ‘Dorena’ & “Everybody Knows We’re Thieves” – ‘Jagat Skad’”

  1. […] On The HoriZzon added an interesting post on "Holofon" – ‘Dorena’ & "Everybody Knows We’re Thieves" – ‘Jagat…Here’s a small excerptA Swedish five-member band, spread in the city of Gothenburg, came together in ‘07 and began their musical preaching. […]

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