Cameron Rostami is a solo artist who recently released OPTESCIA. OPTESCIA is predominantly a post-rock record that displays some of Rostami’s talent yet also clearly tips its hat to pioneers of the genre.
OPTESCIA is a DIY effort and I thought everything sounded solid but I feel as if one component felt a bit off. Drummer programming has gotten better and better especially when trying to replicate the sound of organic drums. That being said I can still hear a clear difference and thought the drums were too perfect sounding and so in time like a metronome that contrasted against the rest of the instrumentation. I’m pretty sure Rostami would have preferred a live drummer but sometimes you have to work with what you have.
The album opens with “Sunlight Geometrics” and the simultaneous guitar riffs don’t sound far off from a band like Explosions In The Sky. In typical post-rock fashion the song builds to a crescendo and you are already at the grandiose peak at around two minutes in. I felt like the drums took over the entire song. All I could focus on were the protruding bass drum and snare while everything else felt like white noise. In fact the drums were so overpowering it gave it an industrial feel.
“Atrium” sounds like post-rock 101 that sounds comparable to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Deafheaven. The song is well delivered but nothing that hasn’t been done before by post-rock bands that emulate the aforementioned bands.
“Sanctuary Heights” was a welcome deviation that veers towards ambient. The song is atmospheric, ethereal and one of the most original sounding songs on the album. Rostami quickly goes back into more predictable post-rock tendencies but there are some inspired moments along the way.
The peaks on the songs begin to sound interchangeable and predictable as the album progresses. It comes in the form of wailing guitars, which produce mostly white noise and drums that give the songs a robotic feel. He closes with “The Sunlit Hallucination” which is another ambient song and is as original sounding as “Sanctuary Heights.”
I feel like Rostami is going toe to toe with some of the most notable act in post-rock when he reaches for grand heights by creating an ascending sea of distortion that tries to find the highest peak possible. It’s not an easy battle when bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in The Sky have basically perfected that sound years ago. I think Rostami is at his best exploring ambient soundscape and if he can find a way to build up those songs without adhering to tropes of post-rock he should be onto something.
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