Music in a Post-Rock World: This Plane Will (Not) Crash Tomorrow

Because everything written about needs a name, under the pretense of knowing and understanding that which we are writing about, the name of this band is Explosions In The Sky and the type of music they perform is called “post-rock.” However, what cannot easily be named are the emotions that fill your heart and swell up in your throat, not knowing whether to sigh, weep, or let out an “ah” of pleasure. Without uttering a single word, EITS’s instrumental harmonies will also load your mind’s eye with a host of images: endless blue skies, distant horizons, and lone travelers. All of these things swirled around my mind as I watched these five musicians do an opening set for Nine Inch Nails at the US Airways Center this past November 9. As I was awed by the stunningly simple but effective light show that accompanied the music, I found myself thinking about the opening scene of Wim Wenders’ 1984 film ‘Paris, Texas’, as well as Peter Bogdanovich’s ‘The Last Picture Show’ (1971), not to mention Cormac McCarthy novels, like ‘Blood Meridian’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’. In the end, though, I was mesmerized by what I saw and heard. The music was epic without being pompous, harmonious yet complex. If I had to connect EITS with other music with which I am familiar, I would see them as related to Vangelis, Mono (Japan), and Friends of Dean Martinez. Having said that, whenever I hear the soaring chords of a three-guitar harmony, I will always know it’s Explosions In The Sky.  Video credit: David Martínez, US Airways Center, Saturday, November 9, 2013.

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