"Ambient post-rock is a beautiful thing when executed as well as it is on Concrete Sunrise. You can wander through its hypnotic and transient labyrinths with a fine-tooth comb, trying to decipher all rhyme and meaning to it, or you can amble barefoot, with your head to the sky, letting the waves of music wash over you, putting your mind in a place of utter calm and peace. Either way, it’s a style of music that we all need to lean on from time to time"
Now that the dust and sand has settled somewhat, following the release of A Reason To Travel’s latest piece, Concrete Sunrise, now is a good time to share my thoughts on it, and shake those concrete foundations once more, forcing that hazy morning sunrise to shine over these monumental pillars of ambient post-rock once more.
I have been a fervent supporter of Yannick and this project A Reason To Travel right from the outset. His album Kingdom found a place in my life just at the right time, and was the perfect tonic in seeking solace and respite from the madness of the modern concrete jungle! Kingdom told a story of old, through waves of ambience and calm, but the beauty of it to me was that even without thinking about the story, the music alone became a silken veil of calm, that covered and rested easy over body and mind.
So, fast forward to 2023 and Concrete Sunrise has arrived and is in essence, a follow on from Kingdom. However, these seven musical compositions can sit rigid and unwavering as their own entity. The mood is different to Kingdom, but the beauty and weightlessness of the music is equally as powerful and fulfilling.
The opening track, and title track, Concrete Sunrise really does set the scene and transports you to a very different place, through its gentle, moody atmospherics and its patient delivery. As the track evolves, spiraling lead guitars reverb and clash against thundering percussions and sharp-edged synths. A great opening track which shows the ability that A Reason To Travel has of harnessing such palpable power, and intertwining that energy with these brooding tones and textures. An empty City is another great piece of tense and apprehensive electronica which lends itself perfectly to the track title. You can sense the emptiness and sheer desolation through the wall of reverb and resonance.
Tracks like Dust Wanderer bring a more airy and almost ethereal feel to the album, through windswept whistles, and wind-chimed whispers, all very somber yet oddly uplifting. Tracks like Last Light have that God Is An Astronaut vibe to them, big and bold in its delivery, with thick heavy drums that sees Yannick exploring many different soundscapes and not being afraid to experiment with them.
I Miss The Sight Of Chimneys closes the album and for me, is one of the strongest tracks on Concrete Sunrise. Rich warm atmospherics with gentle echoes and reverb rebound off sharp jabbing cords, before funneling into a cacophony of distortion and melody, that travels beyond the album itself, into the great wide open.
Ambient post-rock is a beautiful thing when executed as well as it is on Concrete Sunrise. You can wander through its hypnotic and transient labyrinths with a fine-tooth comb, trying to decipher all rhyme and meaning to it, or you can amble barefoot, with your head to the sky, letting the waves of music wash over you, putting your mind in a place of utter calm and peace. Either way, it’s a style of music that we all need to lean on from time to time. Sometimes, you don’t need a reason to travel to get away from it all, it’s often right before your very ears and eyes, in your very own living room. It’s music for the morning after and it’s music for the day before.