The band Autumn Moonlight basically is a duo, consisting of the Argentinian musicians Tomás Barrionuevo, who plays guitar, piano and vsti and Mariano Spadafora, who plays bass, piano and vsti. And what might vsti mean, you might ask yourself? It means Virtual Studio Technology Instruments, what basically means music and sounds that were triggered by a computer, including the drums. Okay, most of the time I'm not a great fan of computerized drum patterns, because, in my opinion, it takes away the soul of the music. Better hear how these sounds are embedded in Autumn Moonlights music first, before I give my opinion of the use of vsti here. But first, back to the dynamic Argentinian duo. The duo started composing together in 2009 and their first full album called The Sky Over Your Shoulders was released one year later. After experimenting with live drummers on a second album, Alter Reality saw the light as a duo again. Due to the fact both albums are very similar in style and compositions we have chosen to make the review a duo-review, just to keep in style with the band.
The Sky Over Your Shoulders is an instrumental post-rock album that shows a nice variation of music. Often, the compositions are dominated by strong melodies, played by the piano. Computerized sounds, like strings and drums complete the sound. Guitars and bass kick in where power is needed. Listen the album's title track to hear a sample of this relaxed and mesmerizing style. On the other hand, we have songs that are based on the corporation of bass and guitars; sometimes heavy and distorted like on The Outsider, at other points more melodic and intriguing, like you can hear in Letters To God, where spoken words are perfectly used to create a special atmosphere. In a way, both styles seem to go in opposite directions, but while listening, you will hear the coherency of the compositions and the pleasant outcome of the way the music is presented.
The second release, two years later, of Alter Reality musically is a continuation of the music and atmosphere of the previous album. The repeating bass patterns are a bit more noticeable and I get the impression this second CD is a bit lighter than the first album, less distortion on the guitars so to say. A highlight is the - clocking over seven minutes - Outer Sunset, which sets off nice and piano-driven and works its way to a not too heavy guitar focused end. Another song I highly regard is Falling Sky, as I think the combination of electric guitar and piano still is one that does the trick for me. Here the guitar plays some nice melodies and solos over the repeating patterns of the piano. But still, when you listen to this second album, I get the impression the compositions are more in the same vein of the band's debut CD, where it seemed two sorts of styles were combined, which resulted in an interesting sounding album.
Autumn Moonlight has presented us with two instrumental, post rock minded albums. Personally, I prefer The Sky Over Your Shoulders over the Altered Reality CD, but that's just because of a special tension between the individual compositions. Musically I think the duo are adequate musicians, but not the virtuoso musicians that inhabit some other bands. The compositions are interesting, but at certain points it seems the band is repeating itself. But hey, I guess that is one of the things that defines post-rock. Overall, I could really enjoy Autumn Moonlight's music, which can be seen as a lighter version of Long Distance Calling at certain points. I wasn't even bothered by the use of the usual annoying use of the programmed drums, and that says a lot!
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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