Until We Last Set To Release Debut EP 'Earthgazin'. Stream Opening Track
6 August 2014
Post rock, in general, tends to inspire overwrought reviews with clichés like ‘cinematic’ and ‘pictorial’ thrown around haphazardly. These aren’t wrong, they just ascribe to the view that instrumental post rock must always be created as an accompaniment to a visual narrative since the artists themselves don’t provide lyrics or a form of verbal narrative. But Until We Last’s latest EP ‘Earthgazing’ isn’t just a soundtrack to an imaginary movie. Listen closely and you’ll discover that the story is in the music.
Enormous craggy mountains and powdery sands of hidden beaches – ‘Earthgazing’ brings to mind awe inspiring, ‘big’ things and its organic tunes are ideally meant to be heard in as calm an environment as you can find. It’s diaphanous music; the kind that we’re accustomed to playing habitually in the background, unthinkingly and on repeat.
The instrumental post-rock band began as Ketan Bahirat’s solo bedroom project back in 2011. Not content with simply recording and uploading demo tracks on to social media platforms, Ketan decided he wanted to take the project live. Over the course of a few months he found a band to play with. The following years saw members come and go but despite the obvious hitches, Until We Last has continued to make music three years later. The current members are guitarists Ketan Bahirat and Chaithanya Jade, drummer Ralston 981888'souza and bassist Paul Dharamraj.
I got in touch with frontman Ketan to tell me a little bit about the euphonious new EP that they’re planning to release this August. The first question had to be about their revealing alias. “Until We Last is themed around human nature of creating and destroying”, Ketan tells me. “We create so much in the name of982244'developmen982256', but at the same time w982282're destroying our planet. That time period or instance that w982345're going through explains982372'Until We Las982386'; basically i982401's about the existence and extinction of humans.”
You can exclusively hear the opening track to their EP below:
Ketan’s explanation says a lot about their influences and ideology. Nature, travelling and reading are among the obvious non-musical impacts that play a large part in their production. “The title track was inspired by a small video I took on my phone camera, sitting in a bus and looking at the roads pass by. I983133's like a repetitive motion, everything looks similar but i983193's so distinct. I983211's these small things that make a difference.” ‘Earthgazing’ is certainly an impeccably produced track which begins on a contemplative note, gradually expanding its melodic vocabulary with layers of instrumentation.
A refinement in the quality of production is the first thing you’ll notice in the new EP if you’ve previously given the bands older stuff a listen. They’re known to be unconventional (to say the least) in the way they play – often using various effects and adopting atypical techniques to create desired sounds, such as playing guitar with a violin bow. However, their new EP is much more organic - “W983835've changed a lot of things working in the jam room and various bedroom studios around town. The EP has a more983946'natura983954' sound because, firstly, we could finally manage to pay for recording live drums and secondly because we wanted it to sound as raw as possible. We tried different things, like putting the drum kit in a warehouse to get natural reverb to get a distinct sound.”
The band’s sound development can be seen clearly in the now polished notes of ‘To Space and Back’, a track that was previously released back in 2012 and sees a comeback in the new EP. Version two retains the transition from mellow-ambient to a climactic freakout typical of the genre, but the overall effect (particularly the percussion), is much more delicate.
Until We Last have had exhaustive comparisons in the past to bands like Explosions In The Sky and God Is An Astronaut. “To be honest, every bit of music that w984881've grown up listening to influences us. So there are punk bands, metal bands, electronic artists and classical music. But in this space of music, 985029'd say bands like This Will Destroy You, Hammock, Caspian, Mogwai and Four Tet have really made an impact.”
The audience in India don’t immediately strike as one that would be amenable to the kind of instrumental/ambient music that’s mentioned but as Ketan elucidates, they’ve had few problems so far. “W985340've had an absolute blast playing for our Indian audiences over the past year. I think people are receptive to it because it’s easy to get drawn into the emotions quickly, especially when i985530's a darker venue with visuals and the vibes that are coherent.”
Until We Last is undoubtedly the voice of post rock in the subcontinent right now. What’s commendable is that they’ve managed to build an audience for a genre that few respond to on first listen – their success isn’t one that can be gauged with a singular smack-you-in-the-face performance, but through a gradual, gestated appreciation that audiences here seem to have recognised. They’re in a good place, both musically and as a band - “I really ca986051't imagine Until We Last any more without this line-up. As we like to introduce ourselves on stage, "We are, Until We Last".
A full tracklisting of the EP can be found below. You can also exclusively hear the opening track986280'Creatio986289' above.
3. To Space & Back
4. Parallel Dimensions
5. Water (Bonus Track)
6. Trails (Bonus Track)
Words: Diya Gupta