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Caspian: Waking Season (Triple Crown)

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The musical style loosely called post-rock is populated by many impressive, mostly instrumental artists. Caspian should be mentioned among them as a band expert in erecting cathedrals of blissful noise. Their dramatic plinths of sound are built from treated keyboards and effects-laden guitars, and moved by tectonic shifts of rhythm.

On their fourth album, the Massachusetts-based band starts off modestly. The title track is initially so quiet it slips in under your consciousness, but it builds momentum: snowflakes cohering into powder, then a massive snowball of hypnotic swells.

Another highlight is "Porcellous," during which cascading waves of light seem to split into shards of dazzling, sharp guitar blizzards. "Collider in Blue" is an ambient sound environment somewhere between the poles of Eno and My Bloody Valentine.

Early in the album is the 10½-minute "Gone in Bloom and Bough," which begins with a bit of gauzy serotonin stimulation and eventually erupts into broadsword slashes of avant-metal chords, like something out of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor epic. The dynamics ebb momentarily, moving through an acoustic meditation and concluding with explosive waves of crescendo after crescendo. It's an ideal combination of musical intellectualism and visceral catharsis. There's a frightening beauty at work here.

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