The sound, or “dimension”, acheived by Beyond the Dune Sea is – according to their bio – an accident. I wish I had these kinds of accidents with musical instruments, instead of the requiring medical treatment accidents I’m more likely to have or cause even with just a plastic whistle. Unfortunately, all musical instruments become dangerous weapons in my hands. Never mind, on to people who can actually use them…
To start off with. I’m going to call it instrumental post-rock. Then throw in progressive and experimental. Did you roll your eyes? I know I often do when I see those genre tags for the upteenth time; there just doesn’t seem to be a great deal of diversity or any real experimentation and progression within the plethora of bands garnering those tags. The shame is that now those generic tags are automatically applied to some not-so-generic bands. They fit, sure, but they don’t really tell you anything, and these days aren’t reason enough to want to hear what a new band has to offer.
Beyond the Dune Sea, however, deserve some attention, because their self-titled debut is an interesting one. To start off with, the album bucks the typical post-rock trend of only running 27 minutes over ten tracks (including the brief intro and a 23-second reprise) – there’s no drawn out, overblown self-indulgence here, which makes for a nice change of pace. Bonus points not for being brief, but for concise storytelling within instrumental tracks and knowing when enough has been said.
Experimentation with various sounds is generally kept to individual tracks, and are as diverse as some funky jazz influences (Time is of the Essence) and glitchy electronica (Save Game), to some breakbeat-like percussion in a few songs – which, by the way, sounds completely organic to my ears, so an interesting touch when used. I will say I’m not the biggest fan of Save Game. If the title doesn’t give it away, the bleeps and blips certainly don’t let you make any mistake about the inspiration for the track. Within the context of the album, it seems to sit a little left of centre and has the unfortunate effect of making it come off as more of a distraction than anything else.
Elsewhere, however, theres’s enough to have kept me listening to this album fairly consistently over the last couple of weeks. Final Solution, for example, starts off with some grungy post-metal, then melds into a 70’s-ish pych jam, while still every now and then touching on some subtle jazzy bass and percussion. Might sound messy, but it’s pulled together quite neatly.
As is the above track – The Red Tide. If that is an accident, I’d like to see what they come up with when they do it on purpose. 😉
Beyond the Dune Sea @MySpace