If there’s a genre of music I don’t get, it’s “post” anything. I guess I can’t wrap my mind around its unique qualities in comparison to the standard. Yes, I understand that it’s supposed to indicate clearly the use of particular musical elements in a schemata through which they are not typically broached. To an extent, I find that those that use this as a descriptor of their particular brand of music are often misguided to their efforts and simply lack a category into which they fall. Labeling music is often the easiest way to sell a product, but to paraphrase an argument from my scientific background: Brand X and the Recommended Product often have their utilities and overlap.
Australasia’s particular sound moves with a tentative grace, combining elements of folk, rock, orchestral composition, and electronics to form their core. Instrumental music has never been a great interest to me, as lyrics are often used to unfold the music of the story. While this album is not wholly instrumental (see Aura as an example), it’s very much focused on the instrumentation, including the use of handclaps and female vocal chorals to deliver what little lyrics they have and even down to scat style singing.
What they create here is an uniquely ephemeral experience through restraint. The use of black metal style riffing does not create turbulence, instead it promotes a sensitivity of the artist’s palette. The use of rock gives the album its driving core and electronics are the sound’s flux. For lack of a better means, this is chamber music. Atmospheric in ways that rock cannot be on its own, human in ways that electronics cannot provide, and melodic in ways that black metal just ignores. This restraint allows the band to develop their approach in this fashion by using each element as if a different color of paint; the different brush strokes formed by each instrument that is stunningly clear in its production.
Ultimately, perhaps Vertebra has taught me to understand the post-genre further, as it is never quite intense, wholly driving, or alien. It is warm in its approach and genuine in its tone; rich in depth and shallow in approachability. It inhabits a particular middle ground of sorts that begs to not be defined but enjoyed in its ethereal nature.
If there are any analogues to this approach, perhaps the best would be that Australasia are a more “modern” Goblin. I challenge anyone that enjoys that particular style to find umbrage with this album, especially after the last three songs: “Apnea,” “Deficit,” and “Cinema.” “Deficit” gives a particular punch at the end as it melted to silence from the most intense moments of the entire composition before leading into the sweepingly thoughtful “Cinema.”
Enjoy the bandcamp stream of a selection of four songs: