I’ll admit to having “Meet the Forest” – a split album made by Neko Nine (Yaroslavl, Russia) and The Creator Of (Tokyo, Japan) – for way too long. Every time I tried to write about it I failed to capture the essence of the recording. If I had been using a typewriter and paper then I’d be surrounded by crumpled up balls by now. I just haven’t found the right words until now.
“Meet the Forest” has, quite simply, single-handedly rekindled my love affair with guitar-orientated post-rock.
Lately I’ve found other forms of post-rock to keep me company – music predominately influenced by electronic, ambient or neo-classical sounds. I lost sight of post-rock with real oomph … the oomph of upbeat, guitar-soaked melodies, frenetic percussion & a tangible sense of the euphoric. Neko Nine & The Creator Of brought this back to my attention with a bang.
“Meet the Forest” is a four track EP, released some time ago by the always-awesome Fluttery Records. An EP that says and delivers more in its four tracks than some albums say & do in ten or twelve tracks. Each band presented two tracks: The Creator Of with ‘Black Star’ and ‘Acoustic’; and Neko Nine with ‘Fireworks Up There’ & ‘Snowflakes Gone Grey’.
The EP kicks off with ‘Black Star’ from The Creator Of. This track makes for a very engaging opener. The guitar-driven melody really makes the track move, with layers of sound added to give considerable depth to the sound presented.
There are a couple of points where the tempo slows & the band (as well as the listener) takes a breather before building back up. This is a signature post-rock effect that is used effortlessly by the Band, giving the track a punch that sets up the EP nicely for what is to come.
‘Acoustic’, the second track on the EP and from The Creator Of, is anything but with some super-crunchy guitar riffs to fill the ears. An acoustic guitar is introduced early on to complement the crunch, adding an extra layer of sound & interest to the track, and act as a counterpoint. This is a genius move, in my opinion. It adds something, along with the bongos, to make this more than just a noisefest. ‘Acoustic’ is wonderfully deep, with multiple layers to hold the listener’s attention and percussion to die for. The drummer certainly earns their keep on this track!
From there we move quietly into Neko Nine’s ‘Fireworks up there’, a piece that starts off thoughtful & graceful before the band crank it up to 11 with a seriously wonderful wall-of-sound that just hits you in the gut. The layers presented are intoxicating with the melody juxtaposed, in places, with some truly frenetic shoegazing guitar.
The last track – ‘Snowflakes Gone Grey’ – had me checking the bandcamp page to see if Neko Nine were single-handed attempting to make the Pan Pipes cool again … they weren’t, it was a tin flute instead. Regardless, it sounds haunting and works so well with handclaps as a means of introducing their guitar-orientated soundscape. A soundscape that builds so well, effortlessly well in fact. This is my favourite track on what is a truly exquisite album … when the glockenspiel kicks in near the end I am sold. I press play and listen to the EP all over again.
In many ways, it is hard to think of this EP as a split … both bands work so well together, they have complimentary styles that gel in such a complete way that I initially thought the EP was from one band rather than two.
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to listen to this EP … it has moved me in a way only truly exceptional music can and rekindled my passion for guitar-orientated instrumental post-rock … and for that I am grateful.
I would highly recommend this release to anyone who likes their music to pack a wallop.