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Music Review: Caspian – Tertia

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Boston’s Caspian provides an experience of instrumental bliss with their latest album. Tertia, the follow-up to their debut LP The Four Trees, is a swelling piece of work comprised of alternating intensity and beauty.

The band does well to hammer down rounded pieces of glorious post-rock, allowing the music to stream through their instruments organically. The music reaches various levels of unfathomable capacity, but there’s something vulnerable and soft beneath the craggy textures that pours through the cracks like tender release.

For the most part, Tertia is mood music with purpose. The narrative is contained in each wave of guitar or pulsating drum beat and the record always feels like it is progressing with purpose to an unfamiliar destination. The journey is its own reward.

Caspian features Philip Jamieson on guitar/programming/samples, Calvin Joss on guitar, Erin Burke-Moran on guitar, Joe Vickers on drums, and Chris Friedrich on bass. They pull off a remarkably thick sound, forcing waves of striking noise through the speakers complete with solid percussion and a bottom end to rumble and rattle with the best of them.

Sometimes the knock on post-rock instrumental groups is a lack of purpose. Some bands simply appear to be unleashing soundscapes for the sake of it, top-loading showy arrangements with all sorts of atmospherics just for kicks. While it’s true that some damn interesting noise can come out of such arrangements, Caspian produces post-rock instrumental music with care and ultimate intention.

“Wanting to evolve and push boundaries should be informed by internal motivations to grow as an artist, not as a ‘member’ of a genre that needs to move forward or whatever,” Jamieson tells sunonthesand.net.

Indeed, the natural evolution of things permeates each piece on Tertia. Whether through the beautiful tenderness of “Epochs in Dmaj” or the crushing immediacy of “The Raven,” this is a record with force and focus.

Tertia works best as one complete epic. The individual pieces run and melt into one another, making a more detailed track-by-track discussion almost inappropriate.

Caspian has produced a wall of sound, to use a cliché, and manages to keep the massive structure standing without coming across as stretched or purposeless. These are beautiful pieces of music, unfolding as they should using the full forces of talented artists with passion for what they do.

About Jordan Richardson