Among the many bands that contribute to changing things, with no concern whatsoever regarding the borders that supposedly divide musical genres, A Reason to Travel surely has a peculiar place. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, A Reason to Travel will release its third studio album ‘Concrete Sunrise‘ on February 3rd. As stated by the band, the album “loosely continues the story of its predecessor Kingdom and shines its light onto the remnants of a once-great city that fell victim to the turmoils of war. Enter the wastes of deserted buildings, ruins, and lifeless streets and explore them once more or maybe forever to the backdrop of rich ambient, drone, and post-rock sounds and textures.“
The idea of war is among the core themes in the rock world: over the last year, we have seen it portrayed in terms of the actual causes in Europe. ‘Concrete Sunrise‘ sees the band writing their most conceptual and imaginative work; at times, it is a surreal crash of instruments, and at others, the band stretches out, breaking down post-rock so that it is not about quiet too loud, but a moment to moment. If you want the short version, A Reason to Travel‘s music is just sublime.
The seven-track album follows an immaculately crafted collage of sepia-toned post-rock, but an ambient drone gradually builds in volume, fostering a sense of closeness and anxiety. Undoubtedly, the instrumental solo project has made one of post-rock’s finest releases, using instrumentals and samples to create the uncanny corners of war while carrying massive emotional weight and trading off hope and despair until they are the same thing.
By exploring the likely self-destruction of humanity, frontman Yannick does not hide his worries regarding the path we seem to be following. The record starts with the self-titled track, which takes us to a rather ghostly atmosphere of a world apparently long gone. Linking the struggle for peace to those for the environment and health represents a step forward in the perception of these fights. In “Concrete Sunrise,” A Reason to Travel enacts some suspended wonder, with sound fragments that seem to be coming from the depths of our minds and souls and the information chaos surrounding us. There is a constant sense of total demise, an end that permeates the present and spreads toward the future as a sonic veil.
“An Empty City” moves in a harsher, more sinister direction, with wobbling synth and gloomy bass playing against each other. The instrumental passage on this song is dizzy, constantly feeling like you are in danger of tipping over. “Buildings, Ruins” mixes atmospheric, suspenseful post-rock, drone sounds, and meditative aspects. I am sure you know the atmospheric hissies and murmurs. Here, the artist connects in-between worlds and our earthly one with sonorous scores, making us wonder about everything and nothing.
“Dust Wanderer” is a musical artwork that stimulates the imagination wonderfully unbiasedly. Reminiscent of Sigur Ros, the track is not heavy heaved or overloaded but broad and open for interpretations, much like Yannick has managed to capture the moments between sounds.
“Refuge” is a moving, profound, ambient slow track that relaxes your mind and soothes the soul in unexpected ways while sending echoes of missed and lost opportunities hurtling the mind. While there are evident moments of melancholy, what makes the record so beautiful and exciting is perhaps the glimmer of hope one can perceive in “Last Night.” Lose yourself, allow yourself to drift; A Reason to Travel makes it so easy, leaving the mind in euphoria.
The album closes with “I Miss the Sight of Chimneys,” which acts as something of an epilogue. As precisely as its title suggests, the track is a post-rock drone experiment, a sad and desperate anthem that reinforces the song’s meditative nature. “Concrete Sunrise” is an experience like no other. It is, indeed, made up of familiar elements to fans of post-rock, drone, and ambient. Still, the intense experimentation A Reason to Travel showcases makes it so beautifully different. Everyone who dabbles in melancholic music will find a strong contender in “Concrete Sunrise” for a spot in their charts: a melancholy that is in perfect balance with the intrinsic beauty of these seven songs, filled with an ever-so-comfortable sadness.
All photos belong to A Reason to Travel.
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