You may have a definition of “post-rock” in your mind, but the prospect of encapsulating the variety of bands and sounds that have been labeled with the term over time is nearly futile. This month, Philosophy of the World goes back to the early 1990’s when the term meant, “using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes”. These artists took rock music to experimental realms often incorporating elements of jazz, electronic, musique concrete, dub, and kosmische to make something new in the face of a music scene dominated by grunge and Britpop. Listen with us as we explore the beginnings of the subgenre with Talk Talk’s irreproducible spacious jazz-inflected songs, Disco Inferno’s extreme experimentation with looped samples, the foreboding tone poems of Slint, and Tortoise’s ever-exploratory, rhythmic rock incorporating elements of minimalism, dub and jazz. Before being reduced to cathartic crescendos, post-rockers were a group of musicians unafraid to push the boundaries of what rock could be.
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