posted April 4th, 2014

Cassettes are hot, sure, but they're not the heatseekers they once were, back in the days of oh-one-two. No, that crown can now be claimed and reclaimed again by that revolutionary format of the 80s-90s: CDs! It's hilarious to think that this format has been discarded and exiled as an outdated, irrelevant listening tool, considering how the crisp, immaculate sound represents the entirety of the audio spectrum as heard by the artists when recording their albums. Intuitive and empathetic ears will glean much from the format's rich detail, and collectors will marvel at its variety of packaging delicacies. And sure, it's easier to roll a joint on an LP, but bumps and lines tap out much easier on the plastic surface of the jewel-case.

At the forefront of this format resurgence are two Drag City artists who also set the tone in the gray 90s. Papa M helped define the indefinable sound known simply as "Post Rock." Post Rock was meant to indicate rock music that has gone beyond the known quantities of rock to that point, following punk and grunge into a wild new oblivion of post-formalist post-modernism. And while that was essentially post-bollocks, descending into a colorless, humorless shaplessness nothing screamed Post Rock with the type of intensity, purpose and color like Papa M's Live From A Shark Cage, and said scream was more impactful on well-attuned ears than anyone could've imagined! This was right around the time that the public perception of David "Papa M" Pajo's former band was beginning to morph from being Slint to being "I LOVE SPIDERLAND, SLINT ARE MY FAVORITE ETC!"

Gastr Del Sol were of the same cloth, and yet another thing altogether; rolling in directions that rock had not rolled before. Luminaries David Grubbs and Jim O'Rourke melded minds as Gastr for a serious batch of new, newer and newest dueling concerns that occupied inner and outer space with what seemed to be otherwordly presceince, making tunes and jams of a different color. This was rainbow postrock-tronics that still shine with an eerie bringtness in today's techn-icolor-ological world. Upgrade & Afterlife, they called it, and still do. Both these records implied a digital future where more records like them would be made and listened to on compact disc - and yet, both were unique enough to represent paths seldom followed - for it isn't every generation that wants to walk the high wire! Meanwhile, Upgrade & Afterlife and Live From A Shark Cage are available now, once again, and only on fresh-pressed compact disc!

Artists in this story: Gastr del Sol, Papa M