22 May 2011

Absent Without Leave - ‘neath the tumbling stars EP (2011, Three:Four)

Absent Without Leave is the solo project of George Mastrokostas, based in Athens, Greece. His music is instrumental. He previous released various records on labels more or less related to the post-rock scene : Unlabel, Chat Blanc, Awkward Silence, Thisquiearmy, Duotone or Fuzzy Panda, among others. His music is essentially based on atmospheric melancholic electric guitar.

The name of this EP seems to come from the lyrics of the song "Pretty Little Lightning Paw" by A Silver Mt. Zion and he collaborated previously with Port-Royal, Stafraenn Hakon, Epic45, The Declining Winter or Yellow6.

All of these names suffice to situate him among this pot-rock / shoegaze / ambient scene which emerged after the reflux of the post-rock scene. "‘neath the tumbling stars EP" features three instrumental pieces, quiet and contemplative, buried into light reverb and devoid of distortion.

It is pleasant but not particularly original or arresting. If you are familiar with some of the highlights of the genre (Labradford, Stars of the Lid, Roy Montgomery or Below The Sea) you may find this similar but more conservative and more basic. 

There is something else in his songwriting, a warm emotional dimension which gives him a personal, slightly intimate position. This is not dissimilar from what could be a lo-fi, low scale version of Hammock but without the whole colorful panache.

This combination is what makes this ep still passably enjoyable even it it won't leave a durable trace in memory.

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