There is a lot to be said for finding new music by checking out other projects of bands you like. Sometimes it goes well and you come across something a little bit different to what you were expecting, such as Gentle Sinners (for the most part a few steps away from what members James Graham and Aidan Moffat put out with The Twilight Sad and Arab Strap respectively). Other times, you find it’s along a similar vein to the project you know (staying in Scotland – take Kris Drever‘s solo output which is fairly similar to his band Lau, just with fewer electronics). Both have their merits and it is fair to say for the most part checking out these other projects is more than worth doing.
Such is the case for New Zealand post-rock outfit Desbot. Jakob‘s Solace still takes up plenty of my listening time to this day, so seeing that Maurice Beckett features in both Jakob and Desbot had me intrigued to listen to their latest release. Beckett is joined in Desbot by Nick Blow and Tom Pierard, with the three-piece already having a couple of EPs under their belt. Desbot are ready to take the next step however and are currently preparing to unleash a tighter and more refined sound with their latest single. Thankfully, you can check it out for yourself here today at Everything Is Noise, with the premiere of “Moonlit Forest” and its accompanying video.
Desbot falls into the similar sound category mentioned earlier, with its roots firmly planted in the darker side of the post-rock spectrum. That’s not to say it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, which it manages to do through subtle and intelligent electronic usage. The sinister bass line underneath guitar swells and building drums however give it that comforting, familiar feeling that post-rock brings with it. “Moonlit Forest” is a creative piece, mainly using the rhythm section to build the track, with the guitar retaining its ambience for the majority of the track. Aside from the electronics, Desbot take things slightly off track from the formulaic approach by building to an anticipated pay-off that never arrives, instead breaking into a new section which remains similarly quiet with distorted undertones when you most expect the track to explode into life. Ascending electronics help to bring the track to a close before repeating the main motif one last time.
The visuals match the theme of the track perfectly, the sun always threatening to break through the trees but never quite showing its face for an extended period. As Desbot explain the track, we get a better image of how sound and nature are one in “Moonlit Forest”.
‘There’s a strong narrative with this track and we all had the same kind of vision of the concept when we first heard it – it’s a bit of a journey from the unknown into a kind of joyful freedom that you might experience from immersion into a wild forest environment. We got pretty bad cabin fever during lockdowns and found ourselves yearning to connect with nature. For us, this song evokes a sense of place, of feeling insignificant compared to the forest, yet strongly connected to it.‘
On listening to “Moonlit Forest”, it begins to become clear why the mighty Art As Catharsis have picked up Desbot and plan to release their debut full length this year. “Moonlit Forest” will be the opening track to Pass Of Change and I will be keeping a keen eye on the Desbot Bandcamp and Facebook pages, as well as the official Art As Catharsis website for further news, as you should too!