CSSC – Overgrown – 79%

Overgrown cover art

CSSC is the work of one college student who had a passion for making music. Erik Rodriguez is the man behind CSSC and through tenacity, experimentation and hard work he has reached “Overgown”, a nearly hour-long release that is his 4th album. CSSC is an interesting project that combines post-rock elements with ambient atmosphere, Electronic sounds and sometimes jazzy vibes which are a new addition with this album.

The whole album has a much more subtle approach going for it. “Comatose” and “Sweet Slow Death” play off of down tempo paced drums as ambiance slowly sweeps its way through the songs in a drawn out manner. The way the minimalist keyboards find their way into the songs as a dominant instrument is both intriguing and delightful. “Garden” is a curve ball track that is far removed from the post-rock genre and would probably find its place in the down tempo trip-hop vibe. It has sort of a Boards of Canada meets The American Dollar feel to it, and those are two bands I absolutely adore. Unfortunately much of the track is really busy and filled with electronic noises and beats which sort of ruins the chill out mood it has going for it. While I was expecting the album to pick up intensity following that song, I was surprised when “Stop Motion” greeted me with a nearly 3 minute elegant piano intro. When the bass kicks in there is definitely a jazzy feel in this track that is quite unexpected. The whole track itself is highly experimental and the second half sort of lost me.

“Time to Grow” returns to the more ambient side of CSSC with deep bass and the sound of children playing deeply embedded in the mix. This track is well in line with the CSSC I remember from previous albums, just a really soothing track. “Bloom” is yet another electronic down tempo jam that synergizes well with the previous track. This track could easily be mistaken for a track by the likes of The Album Leaf. The keyboard work here is easily the best on the album and the ambient factor is off the charts. The way the 7 minute long track picks up near the end is perfect as well. Each new addition to the track is perfectly timed so that the song snowballs seamlessly without missing a beat. While the last couple minutes or so of “Wither. Wilt.” awed me with its static-laced big finish, the nearly 8 minute ambient build up was just too long. Maybe I was a bit impatient, but I just felt this song had a really solid opening, a lackluster middle and a big ending. The album wraps with “Old Soul”, a beat driven track that combines post-rock beauty with elements of down tempo in just a marvelous closing track. Without question my favorite track on the album with its elegance yet punchiness and twinkly ambiance.

The real question I have regarding the album is where it fits in among listeners. As someone who listens to both Post-Rock and electronic, the album is a no-brainer in my collection. Down tempo fans will enjoy this album if they aren’t scared away by the heavier segments that are few and a far between. Fans of the more electronic side of post-rock will enjoy this album as well, but what about the Russian Circles, Caspian, Mogwai, etc fans? I just don’t think there will be enough substance here for people who aren’t satisfied unless crescendo guitars swirling amongst delayed static are constantly buzzing about. As the softest of the four releases CSSC has put out, I find “Overgrown” to be a good album but not quite on the same level as his earlier work. 8-18-12

Pay what you want on bandcamp: http://cssc.bandcamp.com/releases