This is the debut release by Cape Cod's Apse, originally released on Acuarela Discos in 2006. In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered by a hemispherical vault, most often referenced in the context of Christian churches. It is a piece of construction that denotes an altar, a sanctuary. Spirit aspires to a similar state. Less an album than one long song cut into pieces, it's one hour duration consists of patterns and colors and shapes. The closest thing to a "single" is the dramatic 7-minute composition "Legions," a particularly concentrated example of the group's shimmering melodies and otherworldly rhythmic spells. Throughout the album, however, the key elements remain consistent - helium voices emerge and stay wordless, sounding like a preacher speaking in tongues. The music sculpts ornate shapes, then breaks down into an ethereal mist, or ramps up into an extended freakout. Moments of grace and ambience cohere into something greater. A list of predecessors with analogous goals might include the Krautrock innovators Neu!, Iceland's Sigur Rós, the Midwestern modernists Tortoise, the bucolic electronica duo Boards of Canada, or the tribal experimentalists Animal Collective and Liars. All of these groups have occasionally been lumped into the genre post-rock. Apse, however, may be the first known exponent of this style to encapsulate a particular brand of Northeastern melancholy.
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