Canyons of Static. A band from West Bend, WI, formed in 2005. Featuring husband and wife guitarist Ross Severson and keyboardist Aggie Severson along with bassist Chris Biertzer and drummer Nathan Gaffney.
Canyons of Static is an instrumental quartet that blends the distorted melodies of shoegaze with the intensely emotional aspects of post-rock. With no central songwriter, the music evolves from a collective process of experimentation challenging the boundaries and forms of traditional rock music.
They self-released two ep’s in 2006 and their first full-length album, [ The Disappearance ] in 2008 and another ep named [ Challenger ] in 2011. Canyons of Static continues to grow their audience through a dynamic live show. Performances feature homemade abstract films projected onto multiple screens creating a unique experience of sight and sound.
[ IndieMusicReviewer ] - The Wisconsin based instrumental post rock group, Canyons of Static, has just gone supernova with the release of their new 5-song EP. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, Farewell Shadows is an eclectic journey through time and space. The first track, “Take Heart,” straps you in with its cunningly simple melodies and shoots you to the moon on the heels of a pounding kick drum. By the end of the record’s last track, “Drift,” I guarantee you’ll need some time to decompress.
Canyons of Static, a modest 4 piece, should not be underestimated. With husband and wife team Ross and Aggie Severson on guitar and keyboards, respectively, Chris Biertzer on bass, and Nathan Gaffney on drums, Canyons of Static blends its own unique mixture of rock, ambience, and attitude. Farewell Shadows marks the fruition of this unique recipe. From the beginning seconds of the record, there is a sense of motion. Within the record, there are equal moments of neck breaking intensity and early morning stillness. Of mechanical urgency and oceanic calm. The simple melodies are developed with shattering effectiveness.
Dynamically, this record is a mountain climb. The listener is lifted to the peak only to be plucked from the top and flung all the way back down to base camp. The builds and drops really help to create a sense of destination that too many records these days lack. The slow build that culminates around the 5-minute mark of “Take Heart” is like the high mountain air – it simply takes the breath away.
While this record is dynamically interesting, it is also, at times, a bit like a cat at the window – content to watch the world pass but afraid to interact with it. Most of the record is beautifully layered; the melodies and counter lines dancing a confusing ballet around a whirlwind of percussive activity. However, there are moments when the dancers falter and the whole scene unravels a bit. By the back half of track 4, you can detect the first signs of fatigue. The dancers’ steps become sluggish; the melody meanders around the stage, searching for a landing. Luckily, by the first minute of track 5, the dancers find their way again and the record concludes with an energetic finale.
Farewell Shadows by Canyons of Static is an EP that you really shouldn’t miss. Fans of Explosions in the Sky and Ben Folds alike will love it. It has the energy and intensity of post rock with poppy melodic and dynamic sensibilities. It is a 30-minute journey into a realm of mystery and science. In a few words, it is pretty damn good.
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.