Ode and Elegy – Ode and Elegy
Odes are for the living; elegies are for the dead. What is the right word, then, for someone, or something, that we know will die? Perhaps… both.
Ode and Elegy reached me in a most humble manner. They sent a short email with their album and very few information. I listened to it, and was immediately submerged. With a little bit of research, I was able to find out that this is in fact a new name for the Pax Cecilia, a band that had an immense influence on me—as well as many others—by making lush, orchestral music based on post-hardcore, or is it the other way around? It’s no wonder, then, that Ode and Elegy is an expansive, progressive, intimate, and brilliant post-hardcore composition. If you’re not familiar with the Pax Cecilia, please indulge yourselves below.
The project is the natural continuation of the Pax Cecilia, and it’s without fanfare that this grandiose masterpiece comes into the world. With no marketing to speak of, safe word of mouth, and a difficulty of access to preview the album, I see it as my duty to add my strength to the wheel and help it flourish. Forty musicians strong, Ode and Elegy‘s instrumentation is deep, layered, and varied. From the first note—what sounds like glockenspiel under choir—to the last—it ends with a string quartet—we hear the scope of the recording, along with the usual rock band, harp, brass, flute, and more!
Musically, it abandons the typical song structure found in modern songs, and instead works with movements, themes, and passages, more akin to a classical piece of music. Seven movements, plus an introduction, to be more precise. And what is it about? That’s a tougher question to answer than it may seem. There are many characters and places mentioned in the piece: the heron, the tumbling stone, two cowards… but who or what do they represent, and what does it mean? You’ll have to come to your own conclusions for that, but don’t worry, it’s the journey that matters.
Hikes & Into It. Over It – Reciprocity
So, I’ve fallen in admiration for Hikes thanks to their—wow! there’s just no word for it—album Mahal Kita, and to my deepest pleasure they are back with three tracks on a split with Chicago band Into It. Over It. What to expect? Well, nothing short of the most poignant, emotional math rock out there. Some parts remind me of Little Tybee’s most bittersweet songs (thinking of “Abby”, oh my god!), and it’s just oh so sweet. One happy surprise of this split is the discovery of Into It. Over It. The band has a more energetic, driving presence than Hikes, but their side too is quite excellent, and I’m glad to be keeping an eye out for anything they’ll be coming up with in the future!
Simulacrum – Spinoza (Tzadik)
You know it’s going to be a banger whenever John Zorn comes up with a new album for his Simulacrum project. Matt Hollenberg, John Medeski, and Kenny Grohowski are here joined by Bill Frisell on guitar, and the two compositions on Spinoza are very progressive, eclectic, and energetic. You can always hear that unmistakably Zorn energy, or the typical scales, chords, shapes, progressions, and melodies he includes in his compositions. You can’t go wrong when it’s Simulacrum.
Delvoid – Swarmlife (Cocoon)
I’ve been hyped for the longest time about Swarmlife, and I didn’t even write about it yet, so let me change that. Delvoid is a progressive post-metal band from Norway. I found them thanks to their previous full-length, Serene. And I must say, this album is still an absolute must, a top-tier treasure to keep in your library! Since then, they’ve released a shorter EP, with which I had mixed feelings; it seemed to move away from the long-winded gratification of slow buildup and atmospheres for shorter, more energetic tracks. It was still very good, but I felt like the world would lose something very unique if Delvoid went this way. Fortunately, it’s been something like six years now, and Delvoid’s new full-length album is everything I wanted it to be: it’s spacious, ambitious, atmospheric, emotive, and so, so gratifying. These buildups feel like an explosion when they reach their peak, and it feels so good! I beg of you, listen to this album.