Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Explosions in the Sky's New Album and Tour Offer More Bang for the Buck

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Explosions in the Sky's New Album and Tour Offer More Bang for the Buck

Article excerpt

When Explosions in the Sky began putting together ideas for its most recent album last year's "The Wilderness," its first new non-soundtrack music since 2011's "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care" the Austin, Texas-based post-rock quartet decided it was time for a change.

Nothing radical, mind you. The group, which includes guitarist/bassist Michael James, guitarist/keyboardist Munaf Rayani, guitarist Mark Smith and drummer Chris Hrasky, has been known since its inception in 1999 for its expansive, emotional and exclusively instrumental music. So it didn't suddenly decide to switch genres or add vocals to the mix.

But length of songs and their sonic architecture those things were absolutely up for grabs.

"The length of the songs that was definitely something we talked about," Hrasky says by phone from a tour stop in St. Petersburg, Fla. "Not in the sense of, 'This is a rule, these songs have to be shorter.' But the attempt was to make the songs still feel epic, but be more concise maybe get to the point quicker, maybe edit ourselves a bit better."

Sonically, the songs are more layered and feature more synthesizers and guitar effects than any previous Explosions album. "In the past, it was, for the most part, just the four of us miked-up and playing live," Hrasky says. "This record was not like that. It was put together piece-by-piece, and there was more stuff happening: more weird sounds and experiments."

It's always been the band's goal for each song to have an emotional arc and/or tell a story in sound, Hrasky says, despite the different demands of producing music for their own albums as well as soundtrack music for films including "Friday Night Lights," "Lone Survivor" and "Manglehorn." "We want them to flow together as a piece, as a record, but at the same time, it's important for songs to have their own identity and feeling. …

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