The Appleseed Cast

2013-09-16 10:53:10 UTC
The Appleseed Cast Profile

The Appleseed Cast were tagged as an emo band in their earliest days and that's likely to stick in 2013. It says as much about the elasticity of the genre as it does about how Chris Crisci's mercurial band hasn't allowed anything else to define them since. Over the past decade and a half, they haven't made two consecutive recordings without shuffling their lineup, their sonic focus, and often both: In the late 90s, the Lawrence, Kansas, band were peers of Mineral and Planes Mistaken For Stars, earnest Midwesterners expanding on the template set by Sunny Day Real Estate. By the time they dropped their critically acclaimed, two-volume series Low Level Owl in 2001, they were receiving Radiohead comparisons, but then again, so was anyone who laid plaintive vocals over electronics and guitars treated with more than two effects pedals.

As the 2000s progressed, they moved towards a centrist indie-rock sound before going off the grid into full-on, post-rock moodiness on 2009ΓÇÖs Sagarmatha. By 2011ΓÇÖs Middle States EP, you could sense them circling back towards their original sound, and Illumination Ritual sticks the landing. Whether or not itΓÇÖs Appleseed CastΓÇÖs best record feels irrelevant, though itΓÇÖs certainly in contention. At this point, it offers a definitive Appleseed Cast, something that can serve as an entryway to their sprawling discography as well as a culmination of it.

Illumination Ritual can certainly be a potent nostalgia trip: the clean, interlocking guitars, CrisciΓÇÖs rounded vocals and nervous percussion rhythms are pure Deep Elm and Jade Tree throwbacks that thankfully avoid a similar tendency towards unwieldy verbiage or grating affectation. Even if there arenΓÇÖt too many singalong moments, CrisciΓÇÖs vocals remain warm and melodic throughout and the production is crisp without being brittle. The concision carries over to the instrumentals; ΓÇ£Branches on the Arrow Peak RevelationΓÇ¥ and ΓÇ£Simple FormsΓÇ¥ recall Peregrine or Sagarmatha with their fluttery guitar delay, subtle electronic manipulation, and floating ambience.

Crisci kept unusual hours writing much of Illumination Ritual-- as indicated by centerpiece ΓÇ£30 Degrees 3 AMΓÇ¥, the liminal feeling expressed in many of his lyrics are a result of walking the razor-thin line between ΓÇ£up too lateΓÇ¥ and ΓÇ£up too early.ΓÇ¥ ThereΓÇÖs an unmistakably nocturnal mood to it all and itΓÇÖs not the kind of wakefulness thatΓÇÖs a result of panic or some other insatiable mania: CrisciΓÇÖs halting, elliptical lines evoke a moment where you canΓÇÖt quite decide whether to take your waking state as a sign that you should start that novel or just try one more time to drift back to sleep.

This might not sound all that exciting and for the most part, Appleseed Cast donΓÇÖt excite so much as they comfort; Illumination Ritual is more a soundtrack for thinking about feelings rather than being in the thrall of emotion. "Adriatic To Black Sea", ΓÇ£Great Lake DerelictΓÇ¥, and ΓÇ£Cathedral RingΓÇ¥ provide Illumination RitualΓÇÖs most forceful moments out of insistent builds rather than sudden movement-- itΓÇÖs unclear what CrisciΓÇÖs getting at besides a certain sense of yearning (lines like "I feel so akin to rain," ΓÇ£the only girl is shooting for gold,ΓÇ¥ ΓÇ£a new cathedral, burn it downΓÇ¥ are typical) thatΓÇÖs abetted by the satisfying effect the trio achieves by pushing the tempo and lunging forward musically.

It all makes for a consistent listen, as the longer instrumental passages and more melodic material draw from the same tones and structures. But it can lead to Illumination Ritual washing over you rather than creating immersion. While theyΓÇÖre capable of calming ambience, the Appleseed Cast lack the sort of striking dynamics that can serve as a substitute for its lack of immediacy. Nor are they particularly innovative in creating texture; Nathan Wilder is an active and pugilistic drummer who often serves as the ΓÇ£leadΓÇ¥ when Crisci steps away from the mic, but too often they resort to the kind of clean, ringing peals of delayed guitar thatΓÇÖs going to sound like something the Edge has already done more memorably.

None of this should be surprising or even disappointing for listeners holding the torch for the Appleseed Cast eight albums and several EPs in. But for the curious listener, the definitive nature of Illumination Ritual can cut both ways, as Appleseed Cast demonstrate their capabilities without having too many definitive strengths come to the fore, consolidating a decade and a half of intriguing, and occasionally compelling experimentation into a manageable 45 minutes.


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Appleseed Cast is firmly in a sonic place where it s mined Sunny Days richest instrumental essences, along with like-minded 90s emo bands like American Football and Braid, to become a bonafide post-rock band that can confidently play alongside and in some senses surpass, Explosions in the Sky (yes surpass). Three Rivers, an instrumental 14-minute mood piece that fills out half of the EP, has more gradient grace, rhythm and patience than most Explosions songs. --Consequence Of Sound.

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The Appleseed Cast - Illumination Ritual Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Illumination Ritual [ * * * * * ] Release Date - 2013 Genre - Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative, Post-rock [ EXCELLENT ] Tracklist 01. Adriatic to Black Sea (5:28) 02. Great Lake Derelict (4:36) 03. Simple Forms (2:41) 04. Cathedral Rings (4:37) 05. 30 Degrees 3 AM (4:15) 06. Branches on the Arrow Peak Revelation (3:00) 07. Barrier Islands (Do We Remain) (4:13) 08. North Star Ordination (6:01) 09. Clearing Life (5:14) 10. Illumination Ritual (4:03) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURCHASE The Appleseed Cast - Illumination Ritual FILEFACTRY The Appleseed Cast - Illumination Ritual -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast - Middle States Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - The Middle States Release Date - 2011 Genre - Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative, Post-rock [ EXCELLENT ] Tracklist A1 End Frigate Constellation A2 Interlude A3 Middle States B Three Rivers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FILEFACTORY The Appleseed Cast - The Middle States -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast ~ Planes Mistaken for Stars ~ Race Car Riot - Split Ep Artist - The Appleseed Cast / Planes Mistaken for Stars / Race Car Riot Album - Split Ep Release Date - 1999 Genre - Post-punk, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 1 Planes Mistaken for Stars - Staggerswallowswell 2 Race Car Riot - Broken 3 Race Car Riot - Raincheck 4 Race Car Riot - Racing California 5 The Appleseed Cast - Tale of the Aftermath 6 The Appleseed Cast - Remedios the Beautiful -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURCHASE The Appleseed Cast / Planes Mistaken for Stars / Race Car Riot - Split Ep -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast - The End of the Ring Wars Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - The End of the Ring Wars Release Date - 1998 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 01 Marigold & Patchwork 5:49 02 Antihero 3:55 03 Sidewalks 3:40 04 Moment #72 3:06 05 Stars 3:57 06 December 27, 1990 2:20 07 The Last Ring 4:31 08 16 Days 5:41 09 Dreamland 5:44 10 Portrait 4:44 11 Untitled 1 4:23 12 Untitled 2 2:45 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURCHASE The Appleseed Cast - The End of the Ring Wars -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast - Low Level Owl Vol 1 & 2 Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Low Level Owl: Volume I & II Release Date - 2001 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist [ Low Level Owl: Volume I ] 01 The Waking of Pertelotte 2:02 02 On Reflection 6:26 03 Blind Man's Arrow 3:38 04 Flowers Falling From Dying Hands 3:29 05 Messenger 0:46 06 Doors Lead to Questions 2:53 07 Steps and Numbers 5:54 08 Sentence 2:57 09 Bird of Paradise 2:24 10 Mile Marker 4:02 11 Convict 6:02 12 A Tree for Trials 1:28 13 Signal 3:11 14 View of a Burning City 7:52 Tracklist [ Low Level Owl: Volume II ] 01 View of a Burning City 1:26 02 Strings 5:09 03 A Place in Line 4:01 04 Shaking Hands 1:58 05 Rooms and Gardens 7:34 06 Ring Out the Warning Bell 6:00 07 Sunset Drama King 6:07 08 The Last in a Line 4:13 09 Decline 1:03 10 The Argument 5:51 11 Reaction 2:26 12 Confession 9:21 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURCHASE The Appleseed Cast - Low Level Owl: Volume I & II -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast - Lost Songs Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Lost Songs Release Date - 2002 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 1 E to W 3:42 2 Peril Parts 1, 2 and 3 6:56 3 Novice 4:24 4 Facing North 3:41 5 Take 2:13 6 State N W / K 2:38 7 House on a Hill 5:51 8 Beach Gray 3:06 9 Novice Ambient Cannibalization 7:26 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURCHASE The Appleseed Cast - Lost Songs -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast - Two Conversations Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Two Conversations Release Date - 2003 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 01 Hello Dearest Love 4:48 02 Hanging Marionette 4:05 03 Ice Heavy Branches 3:20 04 Losing Touching Searching 3:55 05 Fight Song 4:13 06 Sinking 4:51 07 The Page 2:37 08 Innocent Vigilant Ordinary 3:18 09 How Life Can Turn 3:32 10 A Dream for Us 6:50 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FILEFACTORY The Appleseed Cast - Two Conversations -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- the-appleseed-cast-peregrine Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Peregrine Release Date - 2006 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 01 Ceremony 4:17 02 Woodland Hunter (Part I) 3:16 03 Here We Are (Family in the Hallways) 3:40 04 Silas' Knife 4:08 05 Mountain Halo 4:09 06 Sunlit and Ascending 4:01 07 February 3:51 08 An Orange and a Blue 4:11 09 Song 3 5:00 10 Woodland Hunter (Part II) 4:30 11 Peregrine 4:06 12 A Fate Delivered 3:53 13 The Clock and the Storm 5:53 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FILEFACTORY The Appleseed Cast - Peregrine -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Sagarmatha Release Date - 2009 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 1 As the Little Things Go 8:14 2 A Bright Light 7:04 3 The Road West 8:08 4 The Summer Before 3:08 5 One Reminder, an Empty Room 1:49 6 Raise the Sails 6:26 7 Like a Locust (Shake Hands With the Dead) 4:01 8 South Facing Col 6:26 9 An Army of Fireflies 4:27 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FILEFACTORY The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- the-appleseed-cast-mare-vitalis Artist - The Appleseed Cast Album - Mare Vitalis Release Date - 2000 Genre - Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie, Alternative Tracklist 01 The Immortal Soul of Mundo Cani 2:09 02 Fishing the Sky 3:58 03 Forever Longing the Golden Sunsets 4:41 04 Mare Mortis 3:28 05 Santa Maria 3:35 06 Secret 4:34 07 ...And Nothing Less 4:50 08 Poseidon 4:09 09 Kilgore Trout 2:52 10 Storms 7:36 11 [Untitled] 12:15 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURCHASE The Appleseed Cast - Mare Vitalis -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recommendations: Pg.Lost | C.A.T | Herod Layne | Deepset -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Appleseed Cast --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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