First Post-Rock bands and albums

The roots of Post-Rock, as it is understood today, can be found in 90’s and 80’s Rock music. One could go as far as saying that the first taped Post-Rock sounds did exist in the 70’s. An article, published in Stylus Magazine 2004, stated that David Bowie’s Album ‘Low’, from 1997, could have been assigned to Post-Rock, if it had been published 20 years later. Listening to the latter, as a lover of modern Post-Rock currents, one probably asks oneself the question, at what point exactly David Bowie’s ‚Low’ shows Post-Rock elements. Thinking back to Simon Reynold’s general kept statement, one can notice that the album uses typical Rock instruments for a non-Rock music purpose. One can find many more of the characteristics stated above, for example the use of synthesizer effects and other sounds to create a special soundscape. In fact, however, the concept goes back to two separate trends of the late 80’s and the early 90’s.

‘Talk, Talk’ – The fathers of modern Post-Rock

Retroactively, ‘Talk, Talk’ can be called the fathers of Post-Rock, a group that emerged from the British Art Rock and New Wave in the 80’s.
Simply by regarding ‘Talk Talk’ band history, one can discover a unique musical journey. Whereas their music can be described as synthipop in the early 80’s, they started playing more experimental Rock music in the midst of the decade, creating a music genre that we now call Post-Rock. But the most influencing album for this genre, 1988’s ‘Spirit of Eden’ never really was commercially successful.

‘Spiderland’ by ‘Slint’  – One of the most influental albums for Post-Rock!

At the same time, two other Post-Rock trends emerged in the United States. The second Album ‘Spiderland’ of the American band ‘Slint’, a band that started off in the Post-Hard-core genre, is seen as one of the most influential albums for Post-Rock. ‘Slint’ kept on influencing Post-Hardcore and Math Rock.

Right from the start ‘Spiderland’ meets the known characteristics of a Post-Rock album: repetitive guitar sounds and vocals which can be traced back to Hard-core Punk, but which also serve as an accompanying element of the music. With its rather spoken than sung parts, the vocals renounce all structures of classic Rock music. However, ‘Slint’s’ music did not contain any New Wave and Kraut Elements which had been frequented by European bands. ‘Slint’ managed to create their own soundscape; dark, powerful and in no way related to modern Post-Rock. Thus they created a trend that made its way from Kentucky to Illinois, where, in the latter, Chicago became the stronghold of Post-Rock in the 90’s. The Chicago band ‘Tortoise’ achieved huge fame and may be one of the grandfathers of Post-Rock that musically influenced modern Post-Rock the most. Tortoise contains influences of Jazz, Electronica and synthesizer sounds. Their music does not leave any space for Rock-stereotypes but uses stronger musical effects on guitar and bass and experiments with musical dynamics and the renunciation of most vocal elements.

European Post-Rock bands influenced by Post-Punk and Psychedelia

Other bands are Bark Psychosis’ and Disco Inferno’. The album Hex’ from the British Band ‘Bark Psychosis’ mirrors all of what Simon Reynold’s had classified as Post-Rock at the time: soft, carrying singing, influenced through Post-Punk and Psychedelia. With its mixture of Musique concrète and Post-Punk, Disco Inferno is another band that broke free from all known schemes.

‘Mogwai’ may majorly influenced the evolution of Post-Rock-Music!

If ones know these bands and asks for further interfaces to modern Post-Rock, one automatically comes across ‘Mogwai’. ‘Mogwai’ may be the band which majorly influenced the evolution of the genre, since their founding in 1995 and their ongoing development. With their debut album ‘Mogway Young Team’, published in October 1997, they combine influences from ‘Bark Psychosis’ and ‘Slint’ in such a way that one has to speak of a newfound fusion of typical British Post-Rock sound and American trends. Right from the beginning, their music is strictly instrumental, except for rare parts of recitative. Instead of vocals, ‘Mogwai’ often uses samples. Within their development the band was characterized by electronic influence and dark riffing with great dynamics. Taking into consideration that ‘Mogway’ published several soundtracks, it is not surprising that ‘Mogway’s’ music contains a lot of electronic elements. Their latest album ‘Atomic’ was published in 2016 and was first used as soundtrack to Mark Cousins documentary ‚Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise’