Fieldhead - They Shook Hands For Hours

Miss Fliss 06/11/2009

Rating: 4/5

At its finest, post-rock is the modern day equivalent of classical music for me. The power lies in the instrumentation with no need for vocals and it transports the listener into the extreme ends of emotion. With it, it conjures imagery, pastoral, ambient and grand.

Fieldhead are at the experimental end of the post-rock spectrum, where sounds are cryptic and electronic. Fans of Hood will be interested to know that the master behind this project, Paul Elam, also dabbles with The Declining Winter, an off-shoot of Hood, featuring the latter's Richard Adams. There are similarities in The Declining Winter and Fieldhead inasmuch as the sonic textures are rich with eclecticism. Chiefly, we're exposed to all manner of blips, bleeps, whirs, howls, and drones. Sometimes a song gives you a physical sensation - such as brilliantly titled opener, This Train is a Rainbow, which feels like someone is shaking your head under water. Other times, there is a minimalism, the clunking of beats with the bare amount of synth strings and bass intertwining.

Songs like He Found the Sea and Songs Well Known are very reminiscent of the more experimental Hood albums like Structured Disasters or Outside Closer. There are clacks and booms, synth strings fazing in and out, violins heaving sad sighs, and an overall mood of contemplative melancholy that's bittersweet. Other songs resemble marine research, and make radar noises and seemingly track wave activity.

This is very much head music, or indeed headphones music. Sounds that form a tapestry, that can only be deciphered and rendered appreciated in the quiet of solitude. Anyone in search of new beat-driven ambient music of the minimalist variety, would do well to give Fieldhead an explore. There is much here to enjoy, with mind expansion into the bargain.

They Shook Hands for Hours is out now on Home Assembly Records.

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Home Assembly Records Official site