Below the Sea Blame It on the Past

[Where Are My Records; 2005]

Styles: post-rock, instrumental
Others: Tortoise, Dirty Three, Labradford

With a name aptly describing the sensation of listening to their music, Below the Sea offer listeners a chance to bliss out on an almost subaquatic level. Together for six years now, the three members work together to weave sonic tapestries that gently drift like fishing nets dropping through deep waters. Their latest release, Blame It on the Past, finds them mixing their talents with a diverse array of guest musicians, including Ulrich Schnauss who adds some gauzy synth to the dreamy "Stroll Down Memory Lane." For music so nocturnal and dreamy, it is also quite hopeful. Rather than wallowing in melancholy, the band triumphs by creating musical beauty through the careful mix of instruments. For example, my favorite track, "Ceremonies," balances a rather somber trombone with a light piano riff and rolling drums, resulting in something both woozy and graceful — an impressive achievement. Also noteworthy is the restrained use of programming throughout the album, evident nowhere more than on "Light at Night." The core of the song is guitar, bass, and drums, but towards the end, a low and unidentifiable fluttering/squeaking noise materializes as a chaotic, yet mellow, counterpoint to the delicate interplay of the instruments. While the music itself begs to fade into the background, it is the pervasive attention to small details that make it so memorable. And addictive.

1. Anonymity
2. As Is
3. Ceremonies
4. Stroll Down Memory Lane
5. Sleigh Bells
6. Polaroids
7. Light at Night
8. Careful Confrontations
9. Well Water