A blast of ecstasy
Every music critic laments over the bands that they can’t champion enough. Some music will never really fit in with the masses. A majority of people just aren’t going to spend their time building the listening palate it takes to enjoy certain genres and artists. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it does make the job somewhat disheartening. But then there are the crossovers, bands that have just enough weird to make them exciting, and just enough popular sensibility to make themselves approachable. HEALTH, Fuck Buttons, Radiohead, Kanye West, all of these artists have brought some new sound, or sometimes even just a new twist on an old sound, to an entirely new audience, but maybe it’s time for that club to add a new member.
Jambinai is an odd case. At first listen they’re a bit hard to pin down, and as with most great music, that’s by design. Influences from post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor are evident on the sprawling “In the Woods,” while “Sun.Tears.Red.” and “Square Wave” brush up against the stylings of Tool and Chevelle. All of these elements are blended together with the touch of traditional Korean instruments and symphonic elements that add an otherworldly quality to the music while retaining familiar compositions that help to endear themselves to the listener.
As an album, this is a deftly constructed monolith that would make even Pelican proud. Jambinai does an excellent job of making sure they never come across rushed, but also never feel like they are needlessly noodling about to pad out the run time based on some arbitrary rules of post-rock set by Mogwai, Swans, and GY!BE back in the ‘90s. As such the run times of the track tend toward the longer side of most contemporary music, but sit on the short end of post-rock, “Event Horizon” only clocks in at 3:56, which is a pretty short song by any standard, and it doesn’t waste a second as it teeters toward the brink of utter insanity. The crescendos aren’t rushed either, they are hulking slabs of noise that tower over the listener, in the near 14-minute runtime of “In the Woods” nearly three minutes are dedicated to a blistering crescendo that borders on psychological torture. Its triumphant fury pulling endorphins to dangerous levels within the skull of any listener. Not a second is wasted when compared to both contemporaries and forebears, resulting in the most rewarding post-rock experience since KAUAN’s Kaiho, and possibly even surpassing that.
ONDA is in no small way an utter triumph. The music is furious, emotional, revelatory and even transcendent. Not a moment on the record could be cut. Every second is painstakingly calculated and perfectly composed. The world needs to hear this album, and for the first time in a long time, this feels like something they actually could hear. Don’t turn your nose up at this, each note pushes the genre forward to new destinations. Whatever comes next, Jambinai is destined to be leading the charge over the horizon.