Caspian
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Caspian

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Dec
08
Caspian @ Magnet

Berlin, None, Germany

Berlin, None, Germany

Dec
07
Caspian @ Kranhalle

Munich, None, Germany

Munich, None, Germany

Dec
06
Caspian @ B 72

Wien, None, Austria

Wien, None, Austria

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The controversial German philosopher Oswald Spengler spent the better part of his life popularizing his theory that cultures are organic in their existence. In a nutshell, his philosophy proposed that civilizations parallel life’s periods: gestation, birth, youth, maturity, and decline. At first, this seems like a pretty simple and accepted concept. The rise and fall of Greece and Rome, or the great burst of life embodied by the Aztec empire, ultimately followed by an unprecedented decimation, akin to cancer of the lung, breast, or bone. But the significance of this realization is infinite; Breathing beings aren’t the only things that live and die. Spin yourself up and away, miles from Earth’s surface, and take a gander at the shifting life below. Everything is thriving, pulsing with exuberance. And everything will eventually collapse into death and disappear. Macrocosmically riveting. The flip side of the coin is just mystifying: the microcosmic vitality of an ant hill or bee hive, syncing itself to the rhythm of nature. Or the inspiriting force and eventual cessation of music shrunk to fit on a compact disc. And there enters Caspian and its full-length debut, The Four Trees.

After an extraordinarily well-received debut EP in 2005 and a 3-song Tour EP in 2006 that whet the appetite of starving post-rock fans everywhere, the anticipation and expectations for this release were nothing less than life-size. The result? Expectations smashed.

The album unfolds with “Moksha,” a 9 minute call to life that, ironically enough, shares its name with the Hindu term for liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth, the dissolution of ego and self. A quiet prenatal hum rolls like underground thunder before being eclipsed by the mellow rise of a vibraphone. As the sound swells back and forth, cautiously growing into an amoebic glow, the guitar sweeps in, washing over the vibrations with a ubiquitous whisper before being punctuated with the roar of percussion. Before three minutes run, the song explodes, signs its own birth certificate, and leaves any trace of stillness buried six feet under. The 5 minutes that follow inebriate the listener and become the equivalent of strapping your ear to the sun.

Alive and on its feet, the disc toys with childhood amenities, building crescendos like sandcastles and laughing as the tide washes them away. “Some are White Light” is loud with a serious, clumsy joy that fills every inch of listenable space with a youthful lust. Its counterpart, “Sea Lawn” is the result of that prior exhaustion. Lazy, August notes slide down the guitar like a tired blade of grass slinking in the sun, comfortable in its own vulnerability. At this point an identity begins to emerge. Prior offshoots into a few quiet/loud interludes balance themselves out with underlying thick, heavy guitar rock. The child, now focused, is determined to stick his stamp on the world.

“Crawlspace” acts as an anchor for the album, a conglomeration of stylistic explorations and refined habits. Comfortable and strong, the crisp energy invoked on this track is reminiscent of You Are the Conductor. The precise builds and encircling rhythm of percussion are finely balanced as the music manages to completely overwhelm the listener with its power, but keeps awareness assailable with fluid and enigmatic breaks. This fluidity carries over effortlessly into “Book IX,” a similar piece that relies more on percussive, military drumming, and heart-to-stomach guitar slides. Keeping in the evolutionary framework, this is another track that is capable of touching the world around it with its fingertips and understands its connection to everything else out there. Musically speaking, it’s simply jaw-dropping.

Depending on your perspective, life can either be seen as a plateau, where one grows to adulthood and maintains a consistent level of existence before slowly descending towards death, or, as a peak, where life involves continual growth until the very last moment possible, when the summit is reached and a rapid landslide towards the bottom/end ensues. Caspian seems to position itself oddly in both camps with The Four Trees, as the latter part of the album takes a few twists and turns, teasing us with bits of finite dwelling as well as a lust for reincarnation. Accordingly, “Dropsonde” is a clear departure from the early album structure. A two minute interlude showing off Caspian’s ability to incorporate quiet, ambient passages into its work, the track represents the final ascent of the mountain, and the gentle, peaceful recollection of just how far things have come while standing at the top and looking back down. The song title itself belongs to an atmospheric device that is dropped into the eye of a hurricane to collect data. Things here are calm, quiet, and perplexingly idle. A brief moment to ponder the inertia of life, before shit hits the fan.

“Brombie” is that shit. Or the fan. Whichever you please. A split-personality pi - The Silent Ballet


Is an introduction for this band really necessary? Caspian has only been around for five or six years, but they’ve already released three earth-shattering records and don’t plan on stopping any time soon. In fact, they’ve just released their second full-length Tertia to be heard by the masses, and are about to embark on a European tour. Sun On The Sand contributor Chris Visser caught up with guitarist Philip Jamieson to discuss the new record, the future of the music industry, and plans for the future. Our thanks go out to Philip and as always, Joel and Lindsay at Mylene Sheath.

We asked some of these questions to your labelmates Actors & Actresses, and we were interested in your reaction as well. Your label, Mylene Sheath, has partnered with Gimme Sound to give away its releases for free with the promise that the bands would receive half of the ad revenue. What are your thoughts on this partnership and Gimme Sound itself?

It has proven to be a successful experiment for us so far. Essentially, we are able to get our music out to people for free in perfect quality while still making some money off of our work. People are still exposed to the music outside of the artistic context that comes with the physical packaging, but that can take away from the aesthetic vision that we had for the album’s presentation though. Nothing compares to taking the shrink wrap off of a CD or vinyl and holding the package in your hand on your first listen. That ritual is one that a lot of people consider sacred for a good reason. That said, I download stuff constantly and realize that millions of other people do as well. Gimme Sound recognizes this and tries to accommodate both the listener and the artist which strangely enough comes off as revolutionary. You’d think someone would have thought of it before.

What role, if any, do you see the Gimme Sound business model playing in the future of the music industry?

Hopefully it catches on with some bigger bands and the site grows. It’s a progressive business model and can help offset some of the problems with file-sharing. Downloading music for free can perpetuate a negative sense of privilege. When people assume that something should be free, it does eventually devalue the art in question, whether people realize it or not. If you were offered a free car, your first thought would probably be, “That’s amazing! But something has got to be seriously wrong with it.” It’d be sad to generate that same kind of feeling towards art, but that’s where we may be headed in our culture of entitlement. I know a car, for example, and music are very different things but there is a common thread in the line of thinking. Eventually, people might come to expect a lot less from music, simply because it’s free, and artists in turn start pumping out uninspired material. What I’m talking about has nothing to do with people making money or getting rich or whatever – it’s about the way people approach artists and their work. Gimme Sound obviously does better at getting the artist involved (by actually paying and supporting them) than your standard free download blog or whatever, so they are playing a very interesting role in this developing issue. All of my commentary on downloading aside though, I have to admit that thousands of people have heard of us because of file-sharing who may not have without it, and that right there is an enormous deal for a band like us. It’s a tough issue to see clearly.

Are you afraid that this business model will lead to a decrease in your album sales?

Well, technically, every time someone downloads the record from them, it counts as an album sale since we get paid almost the same rate from it. And hopefully, if people like the music from the download, they’ll feel encouraged to buy a physical copy to have the full package the way it was meant to be experienced. I guess we will just have to wait and see. You kind of put yourself out on the chopping block with this kind of setup, since if people download it for free and don’t like it, they aren’t going to buy it from you. That creates vulnerability, obviously, but ultimately, people get to hear the music and decide for themselves which we are not afraid of at all.

All of your records can be purchases on vinyl. How do you feel about vinyl and the recent so-called “vinyl resurgence”?

Vinyl is great. Obviously, there is a larger canvas to display the artwork on which is my favorite aspect of it. Also, I think the process of sitting down and playing a record is something people crave for a good reason. You can’t haul around a record player with you or play it in the car or whatever. You have to sit down in a room and actually listen and involve yourself in a bit of a process – a ritual like I mentioned before. For people who care a lot about their music it’s a bit like going to church. In general, there’s just a great mentality surrounding the enjoyment of music when it comes to vinyl.

You’ve been working w - Sun On The Sand


Earlier this week we debunked the notion that the United States is post-racial, a sad truth indeed. But at least we can still say we're post-rock. Need proof? Head on over to gimmesound.com to get your free, pre-release download of "Tertia," the lastest offering from acclaimed post-rockers Caspian.

If you're unfamiliar with Caspian, here's the scoop. The five band members met at Gordon College, a small Christian liberal-arts school north of Boston, started playing together in the winter months between 2003 and 2004, call Beverly, Massachusetts their home, and the songs they craft are at once sonically powerful, breathtakingly beautiful, musically masterful and, to evoke that favorite post-rock adjective, epic.

The thing I've always loved about Caspian's music is that no matter how hard or loud they play, and "Tertia" is certainly the hardest and loudest release to date, their songs always prominently feature a melody. This may seem obvious, but melody is too often overlooked by many other post-rock bands. That being said, reviewers and bloggers seem obsessed with the question of which post-rock band is the greatest. As a completely biased, and yet outside observer let me clear this up. It's Caspian.

The actual release date for Tertia isn't until mid-August and we plan to run a full album / concert review (they're in NYC on August 28) as the date approaches. In the meantime, go download the album, give it a listen and let us know what you think.
- Patrolmag.com



Boston’s Caspian provides an experience of instrumental bliss with their latest album. Tertia, the follow-up to their debut LP The Four Trees, is a swelling piece of work comprised of alternating intensity and beauty.

The band does well to hammer down rounded pieces of glorious post-rock, allowing the music to stream through their instruments organically. The music reaches various levels of unfathomable capacity, but there’s something vulnerable and soft beneath the craggy textures that pours through the cracks like tender release.

For the most part, Tertia is mood music with purpose. The narrative is contained in each wave of guitar or pulsating drum beat and the record always feels like it is progressing with purpose to an unfamiliar destination. The journey is its own reward.

Caspian features Philip Jamieson on guitar/programming/samples, Calvin Joss on guitar, Erin Burke-Moran on guitar, Joe Vickers on drums, and Chris Friedrich on bass. They pull off a remarkably thick sound, forcing waves of striking noise through the speakers complete with solid percussion and a bottom end to rumble and rattle with the best of them.

Sometimes the knock on post-rock instrumental groups is a lack of purpose. Some bands simply appear to be unleashing soundscapes for the sake of it, top-loading showy arrangements with all sorts of atmospherics just for kicks. While it’s true that some damn interesting noise can come out of such arrangements, Caspian produces post-rock instrumental music with care and ultimate intention.

“Wanting to evolve and push boundaries should be informed by internal motivations to grow as an artist, not as a ‘member’ of a genre that needs to move forward or whatever,” Jamieson tells sunonthesand.net.

Indeed, the natural evolution of things permeates each piece on Tertia. Whether through the beautiful tenderness of “Epochs in Dmaj” or the crushing immediacy of “The Raven,” this is a record with force and focus.

Tertia works best as one complete epic. The individual pieces run and melt into one another, making a more detailed track-by-track discussion almost inappropriate.

Caspian has produced a wall of sound, to use a cliché, and manages to keep the massive structure standing without coming across as stretched or purposeless. These are beautiful pieces of music, unfolding as they should using the full forces of talented artists with passion for what they do.
- blogcritics.org


2007 was a fantastic year for post-rock. It saw the return of Explosions in the Sky from a five year sabbatical, and they showcased to us that they're still the mack daddies of the genre and nothing had been lost in their absence. It was also the year Caspian released their long-awaited début, The Four Trees. Unanimously praised by all the zines and post-rock peoples 'in the know', the album is now pretty much regarded as classic of the genre, so the follow-up record has been anxiously awaited by many.

Usually reviews of post-rock will tend to make lazy and clichéd comparisons to EITS, but Caspian draw a closer influence to that of other post-rock behemoths Mono. After a short ambient intro ("Mie"), the album kicks off into a whirlwind of guitars with the already familiar-to-some track "La Cerva" (also featured on their '08 split with Constants). In a similar way to Mono, Caspian build up a powerful multi-layered guitar forcefield that completely envelops and surrounds you. The two follow on tracks “Ghosts of the Garden City” and “Malcacoda” step the album up a gear and are more urgent pieces, utilising aggressive drums and belligerent basslines but still retain those enveloping, power-house guitar forcefields. Tertia isn't all blitz and fury, however, as “Epochs in Dmaj” and “Concrescne” are two lighter ambient tracks that break up the LP, and finally, the record comes to a dramatic climax with the swooping Mono-esque symphony of “Sycamore”, which fades out to some epic and booming tub-thumping.

Caspian haven't reinvented the wheel with Tertia or pioneered anything new, and I'm sure this isn't going to amaze or blow anyone out of the water like their début did, and showing some minor stagnancy the band, in true post-rock fashion, have somewhat played it safe and failed to push that proverbial post-rock boat out of familiar waters with this release, but if it's one thing Caspian should be commended for, it's that they don't meander about like bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mono, and The Evpatoria Report do. Instead, they get straight to the point. Essentially trimming the edges off Mono's classical and expansive drawn-out sound, the band produce digestible bite-sized pieces of powerful post-rock thunder.

--Rich Taylor
- Decoymusic.com


Originally released on CD on Dopamine, and later as an absolutely gorgeous double-disc gatefold Mylene Sheath vinyl issue, which truly re-establishes the pre-digital connection between the art of the music and the visual splendor of a great sleeve package. It sounds like the analog mastering is no cheapo job, either -- a single album spread over two discs to insure maximum fidelity -- perfect for a wondrously ethereal debut album by this greater-Boston (Beverly, MA) instrumental quintet. With shoegaze dissonance, feedback gales, glistening guitars, thrusting drums, and throbbing vistas, Caspian is some whitecap sea between Henry Frayne's equally commanding Lanterna, the Dears without vocals, "She Calls" Slowdive, and "View from a Hill" Chameleons. You feel like you're skiing pristine Alps or investigating Greenland glaciers on The Four Trees, its chilly beauty as imposing and unassailable as an IMAX Antarctica movie. - Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover


For all this writer’s professed
cynicism with regards to the
current state of instrumental
rock, it’s hard to deny the sheer
visceral thrill of Caspian’s latest
effort. Sure, the Boston five-piece are ostensibly
similar to legions of other, utterly prosaic
acts, but their music also displays a level of intensity
so noticeably absent from many of their peers.
Indeed, from the crushing waves of distortion that
run through ‘La Cerva’ and ‘Ghosts Of The Garden
City’’s labyrinthine structures to the cataclysmic
force of ‘The Raven’, ‘Tertia’ is nothing less than an
exemplary – and genuinely revelatory – exercise in
emotionally devastating post-rock.
issue 112, page 83 - Rock Sound


Who: Post rock instrumentalists Caspian features Philip Jamieson (guitar), Erin Burke-Moran (guitar), Chris Freidrich (bass), Joe Vickers (drums) and Calvin Joss (guitar). After gaining a wide fan base in and around the Beantown 'burbs thanks to the buzz around their You are the Conductor EP, Caspian readied 2007 for their debut studio full-length, The Four Trees, which is out now via the Boston indie imprint, Dopamine.

What's the Deal? The Four Trees is loaded with crushingly pretty melodies, Thor-approved feedback, loops, and guitar hooks, and fans of Explosions in the Sky, This is Your Captain Speaking (and a bit of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) will be sucked into Caspian's sprawling soundscapes. Finding inspiration in wild charging horses ("Brombie"), Sanskrit terms ("Moksha"), weather devices ("Dropsonde"), and, most obviously, bodies of water, The Four Trees transcends post rock clichés with meticulously crafted songcraft.

Fun Fact: Since their first round of touring, Caspian has learned a few things when it comes to booking venues. When asked to play a house party in Georgia, whose crowd numbers peaked at five, the band was confronted not only by the police, but by the "hard livin' tabacco spitting car mechanic locals, who at the time were throwing trash and pieces of old food at the only two girls present at the party," Philip Jamieson tells SPIN.com. "We didn't get paid anything, and nearly got raped by backwoods hicks, but got a great story out of the experience." KRISTINA GRINOVICH

http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epkedit_media.asp?epk_id=227973 - Spin.com


Quiet. Crescendo. Shimmering guitar. Crunch and thunder. Decrescendo. Sounds like a simple formula for a post-rock band, but you'd be surprised at how many get it wrong. Caspian, a Massachusetts post-rock crew, knows that "epic" doesnt have to mean an album of five 16+ minute songs, and the crew have the melodies to prove it. The band recently dropped their new album Tertia on The Mylene Sheath, and are currently offering that long-player for FREE download.

Caspian is currently touring North America and will hit The Studio @ Webster Hall on Aug 28th (FRIDAY) before jetting to Europe for an extremely ambitious set of dates. - Brooklyn Vegan


It’s a term that generally sends musicians apoplectic with disdain but
for Philip Jamieson, one fi fth of Massachusetts’ Caspian, post-rock is
by no means a dirty word.
“If people want to use it to describe us we don’t mind since we
understand that people need to assign specifi c terms to something to
organise it in their minds. It’s not such a big deal.”
Indeed, even the slew of lazy journalistic comparisons associated with
the genre leave him unfazed.
“Post-rock bands get more scrutinised on these levels than in any
other musical style, but I think that just speaks to the inherently
creative and forward-thinking nature of the genre.”
Certainly, his own band have done more to move the genre forward
than most, displaying the kind of rhythmic intensity and textural
diversity that so many of their peers manifestly lack and in this
respect ‘Tertia’, their second full-length, represents a distillation of
everything that makes Caspian so essential. Equal parts subtlety and
ferocity, the album is, as Philip explains, “a passage from dark to
light, like running your way out of a black forest and into an open,
bright space. Hope is always one of [our] most prominent themes and
‘Tertia’ is certainly no exception.”
But while it remains instantly recognisable as a Caspian record –
“we didn’t want to completely reinvent the band since we feel like
we haven’t earned the right to yet” – the album may also hold a few
surprises; could it be that RS’ fi nely-tuned ears detected some vocals?
“There are indeed some vocals… but we intentionally put them in
the background. Hopefully they’re the kind of additions that become
more apparent on repeat listens.”
Ultimately, however, perhaps the enduring appeal of Caspian’s music
is based upon something a little more immediate.
“I think we wanted to make ‘Tertia’ rock a little more than the
average post-rock album.”
Amen to that…
- Rock Sound


Like other all-instrumental "post-rock" bands, Caspian builds from gentle ripplings to peals of musical thunder. But this three-guitar Massachusetts quintet isn't in it just for the crescendos. Its third release, "Tertia," is just as effective when it sparkles as when it storms.

Caspian's style can be taken as abstracted heavy metal or high-romantic orchestral music transferred to rock instruments. Pieces such as "Ghosts of the Garden City" resemble those of the Beethoven-loving Japanese quartet Mono. Yet guitarists Philip Jamieson (who also contributes keyboards and electronics), Calvin Joss and Erin Burke-Moran sometimes play hushed passages that suggest Brian Eno's ambient music. "Concrescene" jangles prettily but unassertively, more chamber music than arena-rock, while the nine-minute "Sycamore" becomes a drum-thumping epic.

The group's hard-rock tendencies are often expressed by distorted guitar interwoven with more delicate textures on tracks such as "Of Foam and Wave." The band rejects both traditional verse-chorus structure and dueling-instrument improvisation, preferring tightly constructed ensemble music. Caspian has the instrumental firepower to make a big noise when it feels like it. But the melodies, timbres and harmonics are so fully realized that "Tertia" would be mighty, even without its climaxes. - Washington Post


Caspian’s full length debut The Four Trees garnered post-rock designations and accolades for the Beverly, Massachusetts group. It was sprawling, sweeping, and epic in scale and scope, covering a vast terrain of sonic qualities that typically accompany a genre that has been ambiguously referred to as crescendocore, which is to say that there is an intense buildup and release, making it the equivalent of a musical orgasm. Now, with their sophomore release, Caspian deftly escapes the pitfalls of bad posture and proudly presents Tertia with a richness that embodies the landscape of New England.

It needs to be said, however, that you’ve heard this kind of music before in the likes of Explosions in the Sky, A Northern Chorus, Joy Wants Eternity, and Do Make Say Think. In and of itself it is nothing new, and therein is the challenge for Caspian: how to make an increasingly inclusive sound seem new in the listener’s ears? It’s a given that the guitars will arc way above the median range of notes and chords, and that the percussion will fellow in parts equally tame and cacophonous as structure dictates. The bass, of course, will hold down the pulsing low end to level things out into an evenly crafted wall of sound. The only other options are to add vocals, which seems to be utterly taboo, or subtle new elements that can supersede monotony.

With wonderful range and vision Caspian has opted for the latter, introducing a thicker, heavier sound to “La Cerva” that veers momentarily toward something the folks at Southern Lord might appreciate. The cello is also utilized fantastically here, as well as on “Vienna” and album closer “Sycamore”. “Ghosts of the Garden City” begins with soft touches of the glockenspiel before entering a manic frenzy of conclusion. Caspian is also careful to change the pace from time to time, as with the gentle ethereality of “Epochs in Dmaj” and the soft patience of “Concrescence”.

Accompanying the music is a lyrical piece included as an insert to the CD package. The poem by J. Bennett Bonilla, titled “Tertia – Or Reverie,” is complimentary to the swirling collage of Caspian’s music, and is best read while the album plays in the background in alternating states of the serene and stentorian. And that’s the best part of Tertia, the graceful meditative ease it affords the listener, even at its most clustered.

When it’s over Tertia is proof that Caspian has worked hard to create a cohesive album that transcends the music industry’s tendency to categorize everything into a convenient label. Post-rock, avant garde, shoegaze, crescendocore; these are just terms that indicate a certain style of music but not the identity of the bands themselves. They are as arbitrary as the lofty heights their purveyors often seek, and Caspian knows it. With key tempo changes, well-spaced arrangements, and delicate instrumental insertions Tertia succeeds in capturing an earthen mood even as it soars to scrape the upper levels of the atmosphere. But, to be sure, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you know that it’s really, really good. - PopMatters


Caspian's first full length, The Four Trees, was a recent milestone of post-rock. It was sort of a reboot for the genre, which has in recent years become increasingly mired in middling songcraft and overlong, piddling crescendos with unsatisfactory payoffs. Caspian, heir apparent to the vacant rockist throne once held by Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai before them, snatched the reins with their revised take on the genre's characteristic sturm und drang. What their songs sacrificed in post-rock's traditionally exhausting length, they made up for in intensity; songs came on hard, smacking listeners around, but they ended before the welcome mat rolled up. They emphasized the "rock" in "post-rock," bringing more straightforward riffing, memorable melodies and protracted but unpredictable song structures to the fore. The album's resultant critical acclaim left the band at a head-scratching crossroads. Where to go after you've changed the game? The band's sophomore LP, Tertia, has arrived with the answer: harder, faster, stronger. Tertia finds the band seemingly expanding in every direction at once.

Caspian picked up an extra guitarist in the intervening years between The Four Trees and the new album, and it shows. Tertia is their most sonically dense offering to date, coated nearly wall-to-wall with guitars, with the occasional kiss of a xylophone, a haunting synth, even a bit of vocals acting as the icing on an already triple-stacked cake. The songcraft seems to have followed suit; the music is deeper and heavier all around. After creepy, disjointed opener "Mie," "La Cerva" comes on like a statement of purpose: Here's what we can do with this army of guitars.

"La Cerva" is the band's most unfettered rock song to date. A plodding 4/4 drum pattern serves as a launch pad for the the rest of the band to attack the song's lumbering riff, reminding us that guitars are called axes for a reason. Even the album's most sprightly tracks, the celebratory "Of Foam and Wave" and the stomping "Malacoda," are packed with crushing, unexpectedly heavy breakdowns.

There's also a darkness to Tertia that sets it apart from the rest of the band's oeuvre. It especially rears its head on "Ghosts of the Garden City," where a gloomy guitar figure, flanked with xylophone and a droning, mournful synth, slowly gives way to an anguished full band assault. Tertia is never more moody than on the towering "The Raven," which morphs from destitute trip-hop, cavernous electronic drums in tow, to crunchy, angular math-metal not that musically removed from modern day Tool.

Tertia isn't all gloom and doom, though. The middle of the record, the stretch of songs between "Concrescence" and "Epochs in Dmaj," is characterized by a sedate sense of contentment. This section plays like a happy-go-lucky palette cleanser in between the louder, angrier portions of the record. The album's two closing tracks lift the mood as well. "Vienna" clears the air after "The Raven" with a gentle serenade over a bed of quietly understated "oohs" and "aahs." "Vienna" gives way to the album's show-stopping emotional centerpiece, "Sycamore," which shows a band unafraid to slow down and stretch out for a lengthier number. "Sycamore" works wonders with a little tremolo over a simple, lovely guitar phrase. The phrase is reiterated again and again, getting louder each time until the song reaches its overwhelming climax, then each guitar slowly pulls out of the mix, ending the record with a mammoth all-drum jam.

The dynamic range of emotion displayed on Tertia isn't just a triumph of sequencing, though. It happens within the songs as well. No track is content to explore a single feel; just when the band gets going with one mood, they stop on a dime and change directions without warning. Angry as most of it is, "The Raven" gives pause briefly to re-imagine the song's metallic riff as an elegaic acoustic figure before thundering on home. Just as "Of Foam and Wave" reaches its volatile apex, the whole band fades out, revealing a piano gently picking out the melody. No boring 20-minute crescendos here. Tertia is full of surprises.

Caspian is a band in transition, unafraid to tinker with their trademark sound. For all its experimentation, though, this batch of songs is anchored by brilliant, restless songwriting. There is never a dull moment. But every moment happens for a reason. Nothing feels tacked on or out of place. Tertia finds Caspian trying new things and succeeding, gleefully galloping over the sophomore slump, never looking back. There's scarcely a better post-rock record on the horizon. - Prefix Magazine


Discography

You Are The Conductor CD/LP/Digital (2005/ reissued 2010)
The Four Trees CD/2xLP/Digitial (2007/ reissued 2010)
Caspian/ Constants split 7" (2008)
Tertia CD/2xLP/Digital (2009)
You Are The Conductor and The Four Trees 3xP (2010)

Find streaming tracks on
www.last.fm/music/Caspian
www.myspace.com/caspiantheband
www.facebook.com/caspiantheband
www.gimmesound.com/caspian/

Photos

Bio

Caspian have a new volume of essays. And they're packed with lyrics. Wait, you say. This is a surprise. I thought they were soaring instrumentalists. Well don't worry--there is a waft of linguistic play in the air.

The french meaning of 'essay' means simply this: "To try; to explore." And lyric? Typically associated with words, its Greek root comes from the lyre, a stringed instrument. A sound was heard, and we tried to shape it into a word, then words, then we kept going, saying, hearing, responding, listening, not listening, trying to, trying not to, always exploring. So, a lyric essay: A sound is trying. Ah--now we're getting somewhere. Or, we're at least making an attempt.

Caspian's third attempt at sonic hegemony is Tertia--ten tracks that swirl, that twist and curl out of and into themselves, embracing the paradox of evoking the wildly specific by exploring the elusively abstract. There is a narrative, but it is spasmodic, fleeting--moments, amidst songs like "La Cerva" and "Malacoda" where the instruments come together to an inextricable point, yet they seem to be uniting to deliver this: Things are about to fall apart. And then they do.

With teeth gritted tighter than previous work, "The Raven" showcases the leaden fury that weighs on the cracking atlas-spine of the album. There is something controlled about the plummet, though. It is as if the fall is really a volatile casting down of the familiar until, in "Vienna," its pieces can be quietly examined amidst the passing violence. Out of the scattered shards comes the closing "Sycamore." Beginning with the most delicate drippings of melody since their debut's "Last Rites," guitar lines weave around each other, bleeding and fading into a mosaic of polyrhythms that, for all their tribal wiliness, ceases with a single snap, soldering the instruments into something fused, smooth, new.

Tertia is, at it's blood pumping core, an aural descent through darkness towards a sun-soaked radiance. There is a sweeping sense of storytelling happening here, and fans of the band will have no difficulty assigning their own highly personal meaning to the narrative that unfolds. And yet, Tertia is also simply sixty minutes of new music written by five guys, inspired by the relentless cycle of performing on the road and experiencing a world much larger than the small oceanside town they call home. An honest reaction to life experience is being attempted, and it's taking form in a gloaming full of guitar flurries, bass throbs and pulsating, steady percussion.

Since forming in 2004 as a four-piece with no aspirations other than to create music they could collectively appreciate, the band have added a third guitarist, whose weighty presence makes its recording debut here. After playing their first show in their hometown of Beverly, Mass. five years ago, the band have been in a seemingly constant state of motion, bringing their sound well beyond borders they initially imagined, with a plan to add even more this fall.

The rain of fists that was their debut EP, You Are The Conductor, bled into the distinctive-but-circular tone poems of their first full-length, The Four Trees. Now, Tertia. One word meaning 'three'--the sum is merely an echo of its parts, the parts always aching--or, at least trying--to be one.