steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

This Is a Process of Still Life

Self-titled CD

Firefly Sessions

Genres: instrumental rock

Firefly Sessions
P.O. Box 5869
Missoula, MT 59806

Nov 15 - 21 2004

Instrumental rock suffers a rather cruel fate.  As elaborate or passionate as it is, few wordless "pop" records are ever embraced by the majority.  Only a small portion of the musical community is interested in the genre, with Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor! being among the few to ever achieve any major recognition.  This is a major injustice, of course - clearly, many excellent releases have been free of vocals - but sometimes that's simply the way the world of underground music goes.

This Is a Process of Still Life hail from Missoula, Montana, where they came together in mid-2003.  Influenced as much by Tortoise as by GYBE! and Mogwai, the band performs passionate, guitar-led instrumentals that waver between heartbreaking rock and sweet sensitivity.  Their self-titled debut (also the first release for the new Firefly Sessions label) is a delicious selection of explosive peaks and meandering pathways.  At times it feels as if the world is crumbling; at other moments, it's twilight outside and everything is wonderful.  The majority of the disc is pretty relaxed (or, in the case of, "Skywriting Over Virginia," heart-wrenchingly sorrowful), but this only makes the climaxes more powerful and moving.  When the listener comes to the final, blissful minutes of "Things/Cells/Beings," everything just feels right in the world.

If anything, this is an album for evenings in dimly-lit rooms with people you love.  I've heard music like it, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 7 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]