Microcause – Producing the Universe

Producing The Universe cover art

Artist Microcause
Album Producing The Universe
Genre Post-Rock / Math-Rock / Instrumental
Buy/DL Bandcamp
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Label Independent
Released Jan 09 2013
Rating Solid

Hailing from Madrid, Microcause are a 4-piece post-rock band that combines math-rock influence with doom-metal tones and atmosphere. Their debut album, ‘Producing the Universe’ was released on January 9th and is a 29 minute odyssey through a multitude of different styles and sounds. The band brings all the standard post-rock fixtures to the table, the long drawn out passages, the spiraling crescendos and the use of samples. What sets Microcause apart from other post-rock bands is the way the band also incorporates playful math-rock riffs and segments into their well textured songs. The band also has a propensity for using guitar tones that are seldomly used in straight forward post-rock and are primarily the type of tones you’d expect to find in doom-metal or avante-garde.

Perhaps the best example of this is the first tone heard in “Methaqualone“, the albums opener. To me this down-tuned tone feels extremely reminiscent of the guitar work of a band like Agalloch. The other guitar textures found throughout the song feel more naturally post-rock sounding and although I feel like the band could have eased up on the cymbals a bit (a common complaint of mine in the world post-rock) the drumming is mostly solid. The song is split up with a sample in the middle that runs quite a bit long as the music picks back up where it left off as the track winds down to a math-rock styling finish.

“Zombi Discipli” starts off with heavy drumming and long drawn out atmospheric guitar work of the downtuned variety. Drummer Roberto Deyueh is absolutely on point here and kills it behind the set as the 2-headed monster guitar assault attacks from both the front and back ends of the mix. Just as the song is settling into a groove, it all comes to brief pause before resuming in a much more refined sound. Gone is the dark distortion, replaced by mellow guitar work that could be compared to the style of a band like Maserati or Toe. Quite impressive stuff. Another sample leads us into “Bitbration“, a song that sounds almost nothing like it’s predecessors at first. This track seems to take the formula of the band’s first two songs and reverse it, as this track starts off with a math-rock sound before delving into their much heavier distorted post-rock styling. The big post-rock breakdown featuring spiraling crescendo guitar work at the end of this track is some of the best work found on the album.

While somewhat short, “Diaspasora” is a high energy track with a fast tempo that just never stops. And while again there is noticeably far too much cymbal riding for my taste, I find myself drifting off to this track with each listen and can safely say it’s my favorite track found here. “Chicago Handshake” is the album’s closer and at nearly nine minutes is also the longest track on this album. The song doesn’t stray far from the classic post-rock formula of a slow winding build up that goes through peaks and valleys before hitting it’s stride at around the halfway mark of the track. Near the end of the song we see a finish that involves textured guitar work competing for attention in the left and right channels before coming to something of a soft finish as the album comes to a close.

All in all I feel like ‘Producing the Universe‘ is a solid album that fans of deeply distorted post-rock should enjoy. While I wouldn’t particularly say it’s a bad habit, I think that Microcause are prone to a lot of the same patterns we tend to see a lot of young post-rock band fall into, the overuse of cymbals being the primary concern. Outside of that I have no other issues with ‘Producing the Universe’ and I feel like it’s a solid debut that showcases good talent combined with acceptable production levels. It might not be the most daring debut nor did it particularly blow me away, but I would be a fool to let it slip through the cracks and let it go unnoticed without a proper review on postrockstar.