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Hush hush

July 12, 2008

It’s too early to really say, but 2008 feels like the year that a lot of quiet acts are going even quieter. Hammock’s Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow was their most zen-like album yet – you can barely make out instruments. Ellen Allien’s Sool finds a techno producer moving away from beats almost entirely.

Perhaps the most surprising is the young post-rock collective Gregor Samsa. Their first full-length, 2006’s 55:12, was a great balance between the off-centre classical of Rachel’s and the quiet indie pop of Low. The songs came from nowhere and often disappeared to the same place, but there were memorable melodies and clear vocals.

On Rest, the vocals are so hushed they’re barely more than whispers. If the instrumentation is still complex and orchestral, it doesn’t have any of the crash and bombast. The most amazing thing is how effectively it holds your attention. If anything, the quietness forces you to crouch down and plant your ear next to the speaker to try and understand what’s happening.

Where much more dramatic albums will fade from view, I think the already-faded Rest will stick around.

Gregor Samsa – “Ain Leuh”

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