Three (Mostly) Instrumental Rock Acts Pushing Boundaries – Rocket Miner, PRGRPHS, & ghost island

There’s a world of instrumental post-rock out there, taking traditional song structures to the metaphorical edge, and diving in proves fruitful.

Rocket Miner — The Long Goodbye

The deft experimental outfit Rocket Miner crafts music to think to. It’s not as though other artists’ work isn’t always conducive to crafting out one’s own space, but with Rocket Miner’s work, that aspect is especially pronounced.

At that, there IS a feeling of a lot going on in the music, which is remarkable considering the fact that it’s carefully constructed sounding but nearly purely instrumental shoegaze-y music. In other words, the “a lot” doesn’t rest on the surface. The music and its associated possibilities open up to the listener only once pushing play and really digging in.

In a sense, some of the “work” is left up to the listener. That’s often present with experimental music to an extent, but Rocket Miner relies on that a lot. They’re banking on that paying attention will deliver something for a listener, and well, it does. Their apparent faith has proven well placed. They synthesize ambient atmosphere with a clear sense of “finding the melody” in a finished work that’s almost surprisingly memorable. Their melody provides a gentle but driving “positive” sense. The band is pushing the listener along, with a bent towards the sky, metaphorically speaking. There’s enough of an “edge” that the grounding is invitingly complex and not certain, but it is there.

It’s a fitting example of just what there is to find in the extremities of music, and just how multifaceted those extremities remain. Here, it’s memorable minimalist rock, a dynamic base ready to be paired with much anything really.

Listen below via Bandcamp.

PRGRPHS — Reunited at Lookout Tower

Among those “anythings,” life proves groovy – just ask the artists behind the instrumental rock project known as PRGRPHS. The band presents a unique take on the traditional melodic construction, building a fully functioning sonic universe on the strength of their sparing musicianship alone. There’s everything from obvious and, importantly, driving melody to pure atmosphere at play.

There’s a lot that has already been said via rock songs with that sort of clearly driving melody. There are plenty of swaggering tracks covering a whole palette of human emotion. Every day’s got a song, just about, even if you might not know where that song is. We’ve simply always been an artistic species, and we always will be, for the foreseeable future.

That doesn’t mean that there doesn’t remain more to say, though. We’ll never get to the end of our artistic ropes and run out of the creativity that’s led us to this point. That’s just not the way it works.

Anyway, to come back to earth, the folks behind PRGRPHS prove that even the biggest groove can be funneled through a meditative post-rock framework and turned into something new. There’s always a time and place to stop and think, a situation that PRGRPHS portrays via their music, and you can get an inroad to that via turning it on.

Check it out below via Bandcamp.

ghost island — New Light

The ambient but substantive group ghost island presents post-rock that’s strikingly thoughtful. They’ve taken the already meditative framework and extended it outward with a new track they’re releasing Friday, 9/28, which is nearly ten minutes in length.

Called “New Light,” it establishes a unique place for the outfit, with depth added to their metaphorical storytelling. Rather than simply having painted a static landscape with their work, their new work contains a “landscape” that’s alive, as much as it can be. The piece rushes to a crescendo like a flowing river before making its way back down, like a forest or other natural environment that had been disturbed by something rushing through its midst and was settling back into order. They’ve captured some of life’s essence with their work, it feels like, since at the same time, their work is memorable and minimalist. Throughout the piece, there’s a complexity that defies super easy categorization, which matches up with the life metaphor, since our time here is complex to begin with.

In short, there’s a deep amount of thought evident, with this work presenting with the whole picture in mind rather than focusing on one solitary burst of energy and that’s it.

Check out some of the band’s work below via Bandcamp.