A lot of people are bored by post-rock. I probably would be too if it were a year or two prior to typing this. Many do not know a whole lot about the genre either, which is a shame considering how much it seems to have grown and how diverse it can be. While I still have not given Godspeed You! Black Emperor the chance they deserve (this isn’t to say I dislike them, just haven’t really done much to get into them yet), there is a good deal of post-rock to be found and loved.
Attention spans aside, the genre is usually a grower, and it comes to be that gems are always around. Hammock would seemingly be trotting in quietly, but such is not the case. With already four full length albums under their belt, the band has been doing sturdy work. Although with only two members, they hardly seem like a band.
Chasing After Shadows...Living with the Ghosts has the basic qualities we’ve come to expect from their contemporaries like Stars of the Lid. Almost like a less electronic Lights Out Asia, Hammock’s music is stylistically similar. With some technically modest song lengths, the subtle cinematic landscapes produce a somber but inviting array of atmospheres. Both members take the usual minimalist approach with their guitars, allowing the soft ambience to proceed freely.
"Breathturn" is a great example of all of Hammock's best qualities. The slow build up lays down a foundation for the atmosphere to grow and the ambience to flourish. All of the songs themselves flow individually, and all in a similar manner. Fortunately, this concept doesn't grow stagnant, and track by track, the album continues a small degree of momentum. On paper, it sounds decent enough, but through speakers and headphones, it shows itself off as being exceedingly bright and stunning.
The scene they create is one of beauty and delicate textures. The mood it tends to elicit comes off as something short of melancholic, possibly cathartic. A night time listen to Chasing After Shadows offers these sobering emotions in a quiet package. The lack of drums is more than welcomed. In fact, it would almost go unnoticed if there wasn’t any drumming present due to the subtle stimulation of each track as it calmly delivers itself. In a manner of speaking, it comes off with a sort of ethereal feel.
This probably isn’t the best description of such music, but then again, Hammock belong to a genre best experienced through listening, and not so in words. Whether through uplifting passages or plodding soundscapes, the band produces a soft radiance that makes the listener eager, but not anxious. There is also some occasional voice work that provides an extra element of comfort to the mix. Hammock are quite masterful at their use of each aspect of the music.
Interestingly enough, there really isn’t anything to complain about. Two guys making a slow, ambient album with lacking guitars and drums never sounded so nice. Not to mention Chasing After Shadows should be shoved in to the conversation about overlooked, underrated albums of 2010. Under the radar, sure. But needing to breathe at the surface, absolutely.