February 20, 2014

Valerinne - Arborescent (2013)

Oh man, this post is coming in waaaaaaaay too late, but for a totally valid reason: I've actually been too busy listening to this album instead of writing about it. It's that good. Who are Valerinne, you might ask? If you haven't followed Marco's previous coverage of their debut album, Kunstformen der natur, Valerinne are an instrumental post-rock trio hailing from Bucharest, consisting of Alex Daş (sup?) on guitar, Liviu Stoicescu on bass and Mircea Smarandache on drums. I've no idea how they got together, but maybe we'll all find out pretty soon right here on TZEEEAC ;)

So how does Arborescent fare compared to the first album? I'm stoked to report that it's a huge improvement in every step of the way. That's not to say that Kunstformen was a bad album, mind you - but Valerinne have really hit it out of the park with this one! There are five songs on the album and four of them blow way past they 10 minute mark, yet none of them ever feel boring or tedious. It might have to do with the soaring guitar lines and lush melodies that seem to simply pour out of Daş's guitar and plethora of pedals and effects, entwining into some absolutely mesmerizing soundscapes. Or it might have to do with the excellent songwriting - the songs never dwell in one spot; instead, they wander and shift through movements and tempos, forging beautiful atmospherics that evoke images of vast forests and alien landscapes. It might have to do with the tight rhythm section and Smaranche's dreamy, if somewhat restrained, drum parts that fit quietly into the puzzle and allow the melodies to shine through. Most likely, it might have to do with all of these! And the excellent mixing and mastering by Marius Costache draws everything together into five beautiful, emotional songs that you can listen to on repeat for days and days...

At the risk of sounding like a hipsterish buffoon who gets too easily excited, I'm gonna say that Valerinne are one of the best bands to come out of the Romanian underground scene and you should definitely keep an eye out for these guys if you enjoy post-rock, reverb and a nice cup of drO)))ne with your morning cereal. Oh, and speaking of drone, why not check out Modern Ghosts of the Road, a solo ambient/drone project by Alex Daş? In the meantime, I'm gonna stalk their Facebook page and wait for some new concert dates. My 2014 resolution is to finally catch these guys live. 

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