It's been a while now since the term "post-rock" was first introduced to describe that fertile crescent of rock music that accentuates sound, rhythm and texture over traditional song structure - in short, freedom over form - but lately, even the music itself seems to be moving beyond the imagery of the language. From an artist's perspective, that's no easy feat to pull off, but over the course of three albums and nearly ten years in the trenches, Caspian has emerged as an elite band that deserves a place in the conversation about the changing face, sound and scope of instrumental rock music. Waking Season is their strongest statement yet - a fully immersive and almost mystical sonic experience that breaks open possibilities and busts through barriers with each new listen. Recorded and mixed with producer Matt Bayles, the album marks a real transformation for the band, according to guitarist and founding member Philip Jamieson. "With this record we became a little less self-conscious about what we're doing," he observes.
It's a confidence that's been inexorably building since 2003, when Jamieson and three friends - guitarist Calvin Joss, bassist Chris Friedrich and drummer Joe Vickers - took over a rundown factory near their home base in the quiet beachfront town of Beverly, Massachusetts. Almost immediately, they started bashing out the propulsive rhythms and ecstatic washes of guitar-driven sound that simmered at the core of their first EP, 2005's You Are the Conductor. They were channeling influences as far-flung as Pink Floyd, Penderecki, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and more, but they'd also tapped into a seam of their own. Jamieson and Joss, with their intricately layered guitar parts, could be as meditative as they were explosive, while Friedrich and Vickers showed they could lay down a heavy tread of low end and big beats without sacrificing dynamics - the hallmark of any rock rhythm section that has its ears wide open.
In 2007, the band released and toured the U.S. behind a full-length album, The Four Trees, and expanded their ranks when classically trained guitarist Erin Burke-Moran joined the fold. As unique as a three-guitar lineup is in any style of music (think of Iron Maiden or even Lynyrd Skynyrd, for starters), it's no picnic unless everyone is listening closely. "Erin is probably the greatest guitar player I've ever worked with," Jamieson says. "He's really into Segovia and Bach and a lot of the Spanish players, so he has amazing skill and an amazing ear for music." Burke-Moran makes his presence felt on 2009's Tertia, which ripples with chordal explorations and hypnotic textures that were more implied, rather than heard, on the earlier Caspian recordings.
The band had been actively seeking a new sound, but after a few false starts, they realized as a unit that the only way to move forward was to air everything out - every hang-up, every emotion, and most importantly, every idea. "We try to keep the band as democratic as possible," Jamieson explains. "We wanted everything to sound as natural as possible," Jamieson explains. "We tried intentionally to stay away from using canned string sounds or super-duper sci-fi synth shit. All the textures are from the guitars, or stuff I filtered through a sampler, so it never sounds as cold and coarse as something that you might create on a computer. We just wanted to make sure that all the performances were from actual real instruments, whether they're live or processed." And that's one of many discoveries to be gleaned from Waking Season: that in the right hands, the technology needn't diminish the humanity behind the music. There's certainly plenty of precedent for that approach, from the work of Brian Eno to Aphex Twin, but as the tools continue to morph, so does the music's potential, to the point where any band can easily define its own genre. Call it progressive, futuristic or revolutionary - call it post-post-rock, even. Whatever your preference, the intrepid musos of Caspian are onto something different. Brace yourself.
Hailing from North West Indiana NATIVE is made up of four friends who came together after realizing they were each the most serious about music in each of their former high school bands. The guys each decided to retire their childhood groups and instead come together to form Native in the Summer of 2007. The line up consists of Ed O'Neil /Guitar, Bobby Markos /Vocals and Bass, Dan Evans /Guitar and Nick Glassen on Drums. Since Native’s inception they have self released the critically touted EP We, Delete Erase with many publications giving the disc accolades.