During times when the connection between human and earth is predominantly questioned, several Post-Rock/Post-Metal bands try to give this connection a musical homage. We Lost The Sea for example, did something last year that I liked a lot – other bands tried and didn’t succeed as much, mostly because the theme was only clear because of the album title or song names. Geophone by Ground Patrol clearly is a better example, not only the title Geophone itself is a Bullseye by the two-man band from Brooklyn and Sydney, they hit the nail on the head with their songs as well.
First – and this needs to be said for a better understanding of the album – this is improvisational. The drummer Alon Ilsar stated on bandcamp that “Ground Patrol is all about improvising, at least at the moment. (…) We want to create music that would be extremely difficult to compose, and speaking from experience, the energy that goes into trying to recreate an improvised idea sometimes makes you feel like the idea wasn’t worth it.” However, I clearly have to say that the idea was good, the music is good, yet there is one point that complicates my opinion about this album to a certain extent.
All six songs are named after an elemental motion or natural “behaviour” that we can see, feel or anticipate. The first song “Rain/Fracture” is a 16:27-minutes-long song that manages to trigger the drizzly and damped feeling of rain via music. Every single little riff sounds like a rain drop that pelts against my window, every little echo feels like an emotion when listening to the rain. The instrumentation feels like the silence between rain drops and it is amazing what soundscape these intended pauses can achieve. This is also the case for all the other five songs. “Landslide” sounds just like I imagined a landslide would feel if I had to experience it. Slow, but heavy – step by step it accelerates, harder, more powerful and destructively. With “Waves” Ground Patrol sets a little break within all the songs – it’s peaceful, arbitrary – it feels like real waves that break at a coast or beach while sitting somewhere close – you can hear the breaking of the waves. There are, however, some negative sides of the improvisational part of the album. Some parts of the songs are confusing and too deliberately artificial, especially when faster passages have been included. Sometimes it seems too overloaded and missed the intention of the song for the moment.
I also mentioned that there was a struggle – the problem is the niche that the album fills. Many will probably not know what to do with the six tracks, even if they are Post-Rock fans – and this is an extreme pity. I am aware of this because I have some trouble with these kinds of albums as well. Sometimes it was too exhausting for me to listen to this album, at some points it feels too artistically overloaded. I never heard the album in a full rotation because it simply overwhelmed me and my thoughts. But I know there are fans of this kind of music. If you like what I wrote about Geophone, you can easily add one, or maybe two stars in my review. I think you will like it. Everyone else who is curious about it, should at least listen to the song “Rain/Fracture”.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist 2020.