Slow Six Private Times in Public Places

[Western Vinyl; 2007]

Styles: post-rock, neo-classical
Others: Rachel’s, Album Leaf, Dirty Three, A Silver Mt. Zion

First, let’s make the distinction between post-rock and ‘crescendo rock.’ Slow Six do not fall into the category of extremely played-out, loud-soft-loud bands like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and MONO. While there may not have been anything wrong with that template to begin with, ten years after Young Team and eight since Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennaes to Heaven, it has begun to wear incredibly thin. Music that sounds like Explosions in the Sky plays on fucking Wal-Mart commercials now. I don’t think I need to go any further than that to let you know that this shit is dead, decapitated, and its rotting corpse has been raped ad nauseam. Luckily, Slow Six is far closer in style to Rachel’s’ Music For Egon Schiele, even if it doesn’t operate on a level that eloquent or sublime. Imagine a less pop-oriented version of The Album Leaf, or maybe Dirty Three minus the percussion, and you’re right on target. Ultimately, Private Times in Public Places sounds tethered to the time period when it was recorded, between 2000 and 2003.

Without the necessary percussive heft to give it some backbone, the three pieces here tend to veer wildly between heartstring-tugging intensity and utter listlessness. “This is Your Last Chance (Before I Sleep)” clocks in at a whopping 23 minutes and 52 seconds, but only about ten of those minutes engage the listener on any level. Unfortunately for the group, they've crammed a gorgeous string section piece into the middle of another 13 minutes of barely-there noodling. Listeners skimming through tracks might easily miss the best parts because it takes forever to get to them.

If Private Times suffers from anything, it would be mediocrity. The highest praise I can offer is that the group makes beautiful music. That isn’t nearly enough to warrant returning to Private Times, since pulchritude is a dime a dozen in the genre. The liner notes indicate that a software program is used to capture and re-contextualize the work of all players involved, and that the programs are tailored to each individual piece. It’s to Slow Six’s disadvantage that without those notes the listener would never know or have cause to believe that there is much going on here beyond the initial composition and performance. Its work lacks the long-term depth necessary to carry it into the realm of a scant few genre-defining albums.

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