Review Summary: Post-rockers Aurore Rien have crafted an album that uses minimalism and strong melodies to hypnotize the listener, transporting them to... wherever.
At the end of 2005, while away from university on Christmas break, some devious force decided it appropriate that I contract that years new and improved strain of the flu. Although everybody has had the flu before and is familiar with the headaches, dizziness, nausea, coughing, shivers and cold sweats that it can bring, this flu brought about something I had never experienced before: insomnia. Rather than getting my usual 8-10 hours of sleep a night, I spent most of my X-mas on my back, transfixed by the swirling stucco patterns I had discovered in the ceiling. Drugs failed to bring relief, people feared hugging me and my mind began to evaporate after more than a week of sleeping just an hour or two each day/morning/night. Even my girlfriend of 3 years, who lived 2000 kms away during the school year, was reluctant to use her limited time and energy to give me that rare kiss.
And then Aurore Rien's "Telesthesia" brought relief from those cold, sleepless nights. I had downloaded the album, along with their previous album "Sedative for the Celestial Blue" at the request of a friend a year or so prior, but had failed to listen to it until the rest of the music on my Ipod had grown exceedingly stale. When I began Listening to the album's opening track "Hindsight 20/20" I was greeted by two guitar parts, one strumming notes rhythmically while the other played a guitar part laced with delay. The influence of Godspeed was obvious, and by the time vocals and a distorted crescendo came, hints of Explosions in the Sky had become apparent. I had forgotten about by stuffy nose.
The album's second track (and my favorite), "Hearts Murmur Under Halogen Lights" begins at a quicker pace than the previous track. Incorporating many different consonont guitar parts and two distinct male voices singing at the edge of their range, this song showcases a talent for arranging sweet and unique melodies. Although remaining minimalist in nature like the other tracks on the album, this track mixes it up by allowing the drumming to rise to the forefront, as the tones extracted from cymbal and tom manage to distract the listener from the quality guitar work. The track was so effective at drawing me in that I had failed to understand until two or three listens later that it had run a lengthy 9 minutes and 30 seconds.
"Breakaway, Sydney", serves as Telesthesia's third track. By utilizing the voice of a man reflecting on the hardships faced by American coal miners, Aurore Rien sets out the 'agenda' for the track. Although this might seem like a cheap trick to establish atmosphere, Aurore Rien is effective in ensuring that the overall tone of the track is dictated by tight musicianship, rather than outsourced to old recordings.
The album's final track "Sunsets, I have seen too many without You", stands as the most effective at transporting the user to a different world. Beginning with the common motif of waves washing onto a shore and the barely audible voice of a playing child, the attentive listener is taken to the beach. As the sound of advancing and contracting water dissipates, a perfectly fitting guitar part enters and is quickly joined by a second guitar and slow, calculated drumming. The song gradually advances into new territory, and the middle of the track plays host to a loud crescendo. Despite the temporary chaos, the end of the song leaves the listener at the beach once again. The album ends, and the listener returns to reality, feeling as though they just returned from a brief journey.
Each of these tracks uses minimalism, melody, vocals and drumming to draw the listener further into the album, however, it is not perfect. Some parts are allowed to continue past their prime (afterall, the shortest of the four tracks clocks in at 8:30), while the vocals, though sufficient for this style, are nothing special. Despite these minor misgivings, Aurore Rien used their powers of atmospheric persuasion to grant me temporary reprieve from going CrAzY. Unfortunately, the same can't be said be said for my girlfriend, who gave into my embrace and subsequently contracted my flu. She could have seen the light, but alas, she cringes at the thought of "boring" post-rock.