Sunday, 6 January 2008


I have followed Growing's music since I discovered them a couple years back. But mistakenly overlooked this album when it came out. Fortunately my brother gave it to
me for an christmas gift and I am eternally grateful to him that he did. I don't even remember exactly what I was doing when I first listened to this album. I may have been leaving for work in the morning, I was probably most definitely getting on a bus....but it could have been the night before while falling asleep. Either way the immensity of it completely overtook my memory so that all I remember is the extreme state that the frequencies put forth by this mighty effort. Which reminds me, before actually hearing this album the only description that I found of it was this,

"Two men make a generous attempt"

Let us delve into that for a moment. Could this attempt be an attempt at the most dense, stretched out and absolutely beautiful swirling clouds of musical colour to ever be put to tape? An attempt to create something that is so seamless and complete that it seems like you could listen to it over and over again? Well if either of these is what they were going for then it was indeed a generous attempt, because the territory explored here could be stretched out to infinite proportions, the horizons there never end and when you step into something like this you are becoming part of something that has always been and always will be. To take part of it and put it to tape, to make copies of it on various media can only ever be an attempt for there will never truly be a way to "copy" the sounds.

The album starts off with At The Foot of The Mountain which layers a multitude of guitars all building into a dense drone of melody that is constantly pushing in on itself before expanding again. 'Freedom Towards Death' is quite short but very beautiful. With seemingly almost monotone like vocals that are really shifting in an almost indiscernible fashion from note to note, if you were not paying attention it could pass you by. The lyrics could stand by themselves as a great poem and the vocals trace their way through them in a completely non-linear pattern of repeating words and parts of lines before moving on to the next, falling and rising with the wall of droned out guitars sustained notes slowly shifting with the progression.

Into the arc we climbed
away from an unresolved past
sails taut, across
that unknown future vast
pushed along by gentle
air, light and waves

Before we waked off our dreams
we thought of you
and everything at once
then like a wave of regret
memory of verses sung
a flood to start the day

But though then heed
the great hand
who pulled us up
from the deepest depths
of an ocean of longing
and charged us to take
certain steps forward
now just the lightest self
total freedom towards death

By the time you reach 'Wide Open' and the idea of freedom towards death is a firm concept in your mind everything begins to expand. Growing creates layers upon layers of thick fuzzed out humming guitars and bass that seem to be able to sustain every single layer that is created while all coalescing into a single entity. Collapsing and unfolding endlessly in an ever-expanding arc towards what? Something indescribable, that ever present nothing. The void of frequency and tones that exist forever and infinitely in our universe. This is when you realize that this duo could not have picked a better name for the band. GROWING. Take it on it's own with the music and you don't even need any descriptions. At this point it's easy to forget that there is even people behind the music, as the song progresses further and further out into the infinite void where it's seemingly never going to end they interject and begin to slowly take it apart, manipulating the layers that have been built and pulling them away into another dimension, all of sudden reaching a point where everything seems to speed up but stay exactly the same until the music finally fades away from you and you can no longer continue on the journey that these frequencies are traveling.


The first time I heard Explosions In The Sky I was in school in an audio mastering facility where my class was doing a lab. Our instructor asked us all to bring in a stack of albums that had effected us deeply, music we thought was amazing for not only it's musicality but also it's sonic qualities. It was definitely one of the most interesting "labs" I was part of while in school. We each had the chance to play a track or two from each album in all of our respective stacks of cds and records. Our instructor who was a mastering engineer unmercifully analyzed and deconstructed every detail of everything we brought, but also did it with a high amount of respect for our attachments to the music. Some people reacted badly to his comments believing that what they were listening to could have no imperfections or faults in any way to it, but this was simply an exercise to show how often you had to put aside your personal opinions and judgments about music in order to work as a mastering engineer. You had to be able to understand and be a part in improving the end result of a very long process from the composing, playing, practice, recording, to mixing and finally mastering. You become responsible for making the sonic qualities of someone else's work sound better. He had played us a good amount of things he had worked on and it covered a wide array of music, so I was quite interested in what he would have to say about the music I had brought. I don't remember everything I brought but I remember one album that I was really into at the time he pointed out how flat the frequencies were. I took it in stride and picked another cd from my stack. We listened to Devin Townsend's Infinity and he was blown away by it and said, "I've never really heard something quite like this." I was happy that my own fascination and emotional attachment to that album had been in some way amplified. I actually hardly remember anything else we listened to that night, but one of my friends in the class brought in this album called "Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Will Live Forever" by a band I had never heard of called Explosions In The Sky. He had seen them open for Trail of Dead and picked up their cd. We listened to about two minutes of Yasmin The light and I was captivated. Our instructor was equally captivated and I almost instantly ordered the cd from the record store I was working in at the time and the album played constantly throughout the seasons of the next couple years of my life.

Eventually EITS made it to Canada again and I saw them play three shows in a row and got to hang out with them a bit. Their live show was amazing and I left everyone of their performances richer. They played Yasmin The Light, which they hadn't played at either of the two previous shows, at the third show after I asked them if they were going to play it. The people behind this majestic music were every bit as humble and warm and epic as their music suggested.

So when I got All of Sudden I Miss Everyone I was expecting the album to have the same powerful effect their music had always had on me. The beginning of the album I felt it once again, the sonics here suggesting a darker path then they had tread before. However once the wall of sound evoked at the beginning of this album faded away and the song progressed into another major scale exploration for some reason I could not connect to it. Throughout the album there were moments I loved but the whole of the music was not getting through to me. I put it aside for a while slightly disappointed. In what however I was not sure, maybe it was myself for not understanding, maybe it was them, these people who had created music that had become part of the soundtrack to so many poignant moments in the last four years or so of my life. Either way the album was put aside and left for many months.

Sometimes you need music to hit you right at a particular time, sometimes no matter how amazing it is it won't effect you at certain periods of your life. So bearing this in mind, for there are many incredible albums on my shelves that I did not like upon first listen, I put the record on once again after I had just moved into a new place. This time however the music hit me hard and I understood why I hadn't heard it the same before. Even so after a couple listens it was put aside and once again left for a couple months. Perhaps I just didn't have enough room in my being for the immensity of the music. I put the album on once again and this time felt every peak and valley, every rise and drop of every wave hitting some spot deep inside, left resonating even after the needle lifted from each side.

EITS use of heavier denser guitars and more space between transitions is what sets this album apart from previous ones. Build-ups falling into build ups each equally emotionally devastating only to suddenly drop away and almost fade out but then suddenly alter rhythm and tone onto another path and seamlessly blend into the next track. ETIS's drummer has always been a powerful player and a huge part of what sets them apart from their contemporaries. This is probably one of his best performances and lays down some epic playing while the band hits some of their noisiest moments throughout the album. Piano is introduced to their palette at the beginning of the thirteen minute epic 'It's Natural To Be Afraid' which hits an intense progression midway through, the drums and bass locking together as the guitars tear through some amazing melodies. 'Catastrophe and The Cure' begins with a cascading piano introducing the piece as it builds with one guitar playing out a rising melody while the other resonates slightly below only to eventually rise and fall into another beautiful melody as the drums and bass join in. Their use of the kind of dynamics explored on their previous album is what makes so many moments so striking and powerful. Tension is built and released sometime without any conclusion. There is piano throughout the whole second half of this album and I hope they decide to add more instruments in the future. Those unfamiliar with Explosions will find this album an excellent starting point and those who know them will find an amazing mix of all the territory they have explored on previous albums.

Sometimes you have to put aside the analytical mind to accept and appreciate something for what it truly is. Infinite thanks to my brother for the gift and for convincing me to listen to All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone again.


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