So Far As I Know – Far From the Earth Beneath Your Feet – 91%

Far from the Earth Beneath your feet cover art

So Far as I Know is a 5 piece post-rock Juggernaut from Russia who bring a fusion of post-rock and deep experimentation to the table. From what I can gather “Far From The Earth Beneath Your Feet” is their debut effort, clocking in at just over 50 minutes and spanning 10 tracks.

The album opens with a short piano number titled “Into the Deep” that is elegant and quaint and gives away no secrets or hints as to what we should expect from the band. The next track however, “Slow Motion”, quickly settles into a rhythmic groove of layered guitars and formulaic drumming. One thing that I particularly like about this track is how the bass guitar flows freely from the rest of the guitars while the deeply layered guitars are the focal point as the drums take a backseat approach. The album makes a stark transition to “Mono” which begins with deep piano work before a loud, fast guitar screams its way into the mix, fighting for the spotlight with the keys. The way the two mesh so well in this track is interesting because here you have this deep and somber keyboard layer underneath a slightly distorted guitar layer that feels like it’s being held back, relentlessly wanting to break free. At the end of the track the guitar finally breaks free and shines on its own in all it’s high-pitched glory until the guitar just goes completely off the grid with chugging and insane experimental looping that sounds completely electronic. One hell of a track.

The appropriately named “Down Back On Earth” is next and opens with clean guitars while brooding bass and eerie synths set the background. My biggest complaint in this track and a few others on the album with primarily heavily distorted layers is that the album itself just sounds a little bit muddy, the guitars just don’t really POP like they should. The guitar work is quality, but the lack of equalization means that layers get lost in the mix. And it’s disappointing because the work here is so beautiful but at times I just feel like the guitar is so lifeless. Back to the music, the album does make an excellent transition to the next track, “Siberia” as the two tracks really go hand in hand. Synths fly about giving this track a real ambient vibe as crescendo guitars slowly build up. This track really feels like it blossoms before my ears as it begins with synths and guitars yet ends with synths and keyboards.

Orphan afterglow” opens with unique guitar tones that are full of echo and curiosity. The experimental factor is in full force in this track as guitars and keyboards come to a stall thanks to synths and feedback in an interesting track transition. When the track regains its composure we’re treated to a layer of vibrant and exciting electronic sounding layers that give way to the strongest distortion guitar breakdowns on the album. It’s this sort of creativity and thinking outside the box that will get a band like So Far As I Know noticed. The album continues its upward trend with “Arrival”, an upbeat and warm track that’s guitar work is intriguing and unique. Drumming is aces throughout setting the framework as guitars rev up and come back down at a moment’s notice. There is just so much going on in this track that a dozen listens wouldn’t be sufficient to completely take it all in.

From there the album transitions naturally into “I’m Back to Walking Again”, a short piano interlude. “Life Within Your Hands” is a fun track that enters breakneck pace at a moment’s notice. The thing that I really like about this album is that it’s so easy to get wrapped up within the post-rock aura, letting your mind wander for minutes at a time. When you finally snap out of it and begin to regain focus, you instantly began picking up on all the little things you’ve been missing out on. To me that’s one of the absolute best things a post-rock album can offer, a sound so deep you can pick and choose which layers to focus in on. The album comes to a close with “Spreading Circles (on a Black Cloud)” as hints of Wah-Wah guitars come out to play with keyboards and distortion based guitars. I really like how the albums flatlines into ambiance and sensual drumming before making one final strong effort to seal the deal. I simply can’t profess my love enough for the varied guitar tones found throughout this album

In so many ways this band feels like the more calculating, less risk taking sibling of And So I Watch You From Afar. The whole album has that fun factor that’s generally associated with quirky math-rock , has strong energy levelsĀ  throughout and showcases a highly experimental effort while still maintaining a firm grasp on the post-rock genre. All of these combine really makes the band feel like the post-rock distant cousin of math-rockers ASIWYFA. Despite the mixing and equalization problems that I mentioned earlier, I’d be a fool to let those slights ruin this album. This is a highly impressive effort that solidifies So Far As I know in the post-rock world. This is a must listen to album of 2012. 9/11/12

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