Three Post-Rock MP3s

The act Run Return has three free tracks on its website, two examples of post-rock folk-chamber music with a pop touch, and one unapologetic pop ditty. The pleasure in “Thoughts Broken by Footsteps” isn’t merely how the acoustic guitar, plucked slightly off the mark, splits with the metronomic shuffle of the underlying machine beat, but how the beat itself is upset by the merest of microsonic impulses, little fissures that tweak the pattern ever so slightly, making the piece far more than a standard act of analog/digital contrast. Another track, “Tributary,” trades one such acoustic element for another: in the place of guitar we have a lightly bowed instrument, likely violin, its tender physicality — the raw feel that is the distant dream of digital texture-mappers everywhere — set against the tight harmony of electronic pulses, which after a short while are girded with what sounds like an actual drum kit; a later mallet part, inevitably, brings to mind Tortoise’s gamelan-like moire patterns, as canned orchestration (perhaps that original violin, now multiplied digitally) hovers lushly in the background. A fissure-like sound serves as the retro-1980s drum pattern on “Yah, Chilly,” with its analog-synth melisma of a melody, all goofy-sad electronic new wave, at best a gothy pop melodrama; of the three tracks, it’s the only one worth even considering bypassing. “Thoughts Broken” and “Tributary” are both must-hears. All available at

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