Ambient post-rock from space colony 756.
Cahill//Costello are two composers working together in ambient music but they are coming at the genre from a totally different perspective to most musicians. For Cahill//Costello – drums and percussion are their bread and butter. When I heard of this idea, I must admit I was sceptical going in – ambient music is fundamentally about sonic space and usually gentle sound. Drums go against that idea, don’t they?
Well yes and no in the case of ‘OffWorld’. Graham Costello brings the drums to the table but Kevin Daniel Cahill brings guitars. This means that whilst drums and percussion can evolve from distant shakers and metal clangs like yawns, you’ll have the most chilled out post-rock guitar strums creating melodic notes too. Whilst the duo are definitely ambient, I’d more aptly label it as ambient post-rock. Nowhere is this better shown than the excellent ‘Pavan II’. It’s a slow burn of stuttering soft mallet drums, hi-hats, shakers and light guitar strums. These petter out into gargling synth and a heartbeat.
Elsewhere tracks like ‘We Rebuild Them’ sounds like band practice for Silent Hill 4: The Room – but being recorded from next door. I personally love that mixing effect and it works superbly for a cathartic drone here. The title track brings in a jazzy guitar rock that is thin and synthetic over distant drums that sway in the night sky. There’s a high pitched whine that evokes late-night crickets to amplify the distant starry sky feel too. ‘Pylons I’ and ‘Pylons II’ are less ambient and more noise rock at times and the energy hiding in the performance is crucial to its success. A repeating riff rotates over and over and both Cahill and Costello get more bombastic, amped, crazier and powerful as the two tracks totally 11 minutes ride up into a frenzy. It’s something you’d expect from an avant-garde rock band like OOIOO and feels ritualistic. I found ‘Pylon II’ especially cathartic and chaotic in equal beautiful measure.
One of my thoughts after enjoying this album was – I’m not sure who’d appreciate this most? There are some beautiful ambient guitar moments such as the slow and echoing ‘Avhin Saune’ but I’m not sure they’ll dig the distant mosh pit of other tracks. My best advice is if you enjoy post-rock or the idea of listening to a rock duo thrashing their equipment joyously 4 doors down so you can hear it quietly in the background – this might just be a sleeper hit album for you. It’s a genuinely unique and fascinating concept, just keep your ears and mind open going in. Consider me converted!
Recommended track: We Rebuild Them
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