Late Night Venture

Pioneers Of Spaceflight

Written by: AP on 24/12/2012 16:39:01

Post-rock is one of the most difficult styles of music to get right. It requires the musicians to perform in absolute harmony; to have a sublime awareness of when less is more, and when more is, in fact, more. But the real problem is that post-rock is not difficult to play per se: apply reverb to simple scales and you're well on the way. As a result, there exists a daunting mass of post-rock bands whose music is average at best, and frustratingly dull at worst. Denmark has seen this movement pick up some momentum of late, with bands like the Day We Left Earth, the Shaking Sensations and Late Night Venture leading the pack - thankfully to positive results thus far.

Late Night Venture have not always been practitioners of the post-rock genre though, as their early, self-titled material was very much characterized by influences from noise rock and dark indie, with overt similarities to legendary acts like My Bloody Valentine and The Cure. That all changed in 2009, when the band released the "Iluminations" EP, which saw Late Night Venture transition into the more atmospheric, soundscape based style of post-rock. That style is the basis for this sophomore album, "Pioneers of Spaceflight" as well.

As opposed to most post-rock albums that have crossed my path in the past, "Pioneers of Spaceflight" does not begin in a traditional, slowly escalating fashion. Instead, "Kaleidoscopes" gears right into a layered and surprisingly heavy drive that serves as an excellent introduction to the sound of this band. A much obliged detail is the high audibility of the bass, as it ensures the song never lapses into the kind of excessively delicate tinkering that sounds like nothing is going on. It does come with a quieter mid-section twice, but without them, the absolutely enormous-sounding psych-trips that also are there would not produce quite as powerful an impact. Indeed, quiet/loud dynamics are at the epicentre of "Pioneers of Spaceflight" - and in best post-rock fashion they are executed with admirable panache.

Late Night Venture are not a strictly instrumental band of course, and vocalist/guitarist Peter Olsen's singing plays a key role in the success of the band's songs when it is employed (see "Houses" for instance, a dreamy song which should instantly send your thoughts scurrying toward Mew). His singing is incorporated with finesse to complement - and never distract from - the music especially in its calmer moments. But on the other hand one wishes they would be incorporated more often so as to afford songs like "Peripherals" even more purpose, as that song in particular has the capacity to wear you down in its minimalistic first half. The same is initially true of the opening minutes of "Birmingham", although it eventually grows into an entrancing, cinematic piece of music that sounds absolutely beautiful, eyes shut. Infusing all manner of piano, gently chiming bells and overdriven tremolo, it is a towering post-rock masterpiece made all the more delightful by its uplifting tone.

The following "The Empty Forest" is no less chilling, reminding me at times of Envy on their brilliant "Recitation" album last year, albeit without the screaming. In fact, instrumental parallels to that album recur throughout "Pioneers of Spaceflight", as the songs here are every bit as evocative and grandiose as the likes of "Pieces of the Moon I Weaved" and "A Breath Clad in Happiness" off "Recitation" - a quality that makes me want to never stop listening to these songs. Just as with all post-rock, however, there is a time and place for music like this, and given its epic, long-winding nature it is certainly not designed for parties or casual listening. Rather, songs like "Hours" here (a slower reprise of The Cure's "Close to Me"), offer a soundtrack to life's most contemplative moments, triggering memories of grand landscapes and starry skies and all other treasures of nature that I have been fortunate enough to see in my lifetime and the thoughts that those sights provoked.

It is precisely that quality that is often missing in post-rock, I find, and it warms my heart to find that a Danish band is in possession of the capabilities to capture it with a prowess that is directly comparable to my favorites in the genre (Ancients, Devil Sold His Soul, and Envy to name a few). This sensation did not arrive to me until several subsequent listening sessions, which most likely owes to the sheer richness of the soundscape explored here on "Pioneers of Spaceflight" - it takes time to dissect, investigate and appreciate. One must also commend Late Night Venture with their attention to album structure, as they skillfully avert the common pitfall of forgetting diversity and, above all, contrast. Where there's a lull in the proceedings, such as the shoegazing drift of songs like "Glitterpony" and "Ready No", there are the counteracting 65daysofstatic-esque dance beats and crushing synth markers that drive both "Trust" and "Carisma".

On "Pioneers of Spaceflight", Late Night Venture sound like a band that have found their own niche and perfected it, showcasing an extraordinary amount of range and quality on par with Envy's "Recitation", Rinoa's "An Age Among Us" and Devil Sold His Souls' "Empire of Light". It is a damn fine post-rock album, and an excellent soundtrack to drift off to the edge of your imagination to. Highly recommended stuff.

Download: Kaleidoscopes, Houses, Birmingham, Hours, Trust
For the fans of: Envy, Explosions in the Sky, Mew, pg.lost
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.10.2012
Dunk Records

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