Saturday, September 14, 2013
The Appleseed Cast Low Level Owl: Volumes I+II Deep Elm Records and Big School Records 3XLP Color Vinyl (Gold)
People love these albums. I mean, they put this reissue out in 2013 and they are freaking gone, already bringing in high dollar on eBay.
Personally, I prefer Mare Vitalis. I'm likely in the minority there. I just thought that album had more energy than these (keep in mind, these originally came out as two separate albums). Plus, Mare Vitalis had "Fishing the Sky" which is the greatest thing the band ever recorded. I'm just overwhelmed by the response to these albums, I've read that after this album, The Cast became America's answer to Radiohead, and I've read people gush over the experimentation with post-rock sounds.
I remember getting the CDs from Aaron Pillar for free after having to beg him. Then, after he reluctantly handed them over, I felt bad because the albums can be challenging to get through, I barely listened to them. There's a lot of space, a lot of experimentation, and it takes a while to soak these in. At the time, I wasn't in the mood for that. Further, it just proves, that this has nothing to do with Radiohead, we're not even going to jump into that idea because it's absurd.
However, I would like to address the post-rock experimentation. The band dicks around a lot on these LPS. On the liners, they state it's because they have a lot of ideas. I think the truth is, they needed/wanted to get out of their contract with Deep Elm as soon as possible. These albums were the answer; two sprawling releases that coincide with each other. And in between the songs, there's not just segues, there's more songs of looped guitars and drum tracks filled with ambiance and atmosphere. That part of the LP is what set the emo kids off. Probably because they never heard Brian Eno, but I guess it was all new to their ears. If they were familiar with it, they called it Godspeed You Black Emporer-esque, but again, they never heard Eno. The experimentation is just looped tracks for the most part, some drumming building up and Pillar's guitar slowly adding depth. It's decent, just not memorable.
In between the segues, there is some incredible songs though. Had this been just one LP, it's easily 5 star material. The droning sounds do bleed into the actual songs, but that what makes the songs great, not the albums. However, by the fan base embracing the Low Level albums and the critical praise, it did send Appleseed Cast in a whole new direction. The work that followed perfected the sounds found here. The time since these LPS have been released took them out of Emo scene and firmly entrenched them in the post rock scene. And, despite being Kansans by choice only, they are currently Kansas' most important band touring and putting out new music.
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