SEVEN MILE JOURNEY - The Journey Studies
A couple of months ago, the Danish independent label Fono'gram surprised us with the release of an album by a gloomy instrumental band called My Beloved. Now in cold January nearly half a year later, the label is back with the debut album of Danish instrumental post rock minimalists Seven Mile Journey who only need four songs to fill three quarters of an hour.
Two guitars, a bass and a drumkit are enough to paint sonic landscapes that maybe lack the symphonic grandeur of Godspeed You Black Emperor, but nonetheless conjure bleak highways of endless miles of desolation. The weird song titles (Through The Alter Ego Justifications; Passenger's Log, The Unity Fractions; Theme For The Oddmory Philosophies; The Murderer/Victim Monologues) let you guess at underlying concept, which is of course difficult to grasp when there are no lyrics. It could be the soundtrack for an experimental movie (we all know where the cinematic Dogma doctrine comes from), it could as well be an acoustic journey through tormented souls. Whatever it is, it is something that becomes stronger and more intense the more you listen to it. Switch off the lights, turn on the music, lie back in a comfortable position and let yourself be immersed into The Journey Studies.
The album sounds like one long song. The seven minute opener is no different from the quarter hour tracks (songs number two and four), only the third tracks with its mere four minute running time seems like bridging the gap between the two long songs. The drums are very discreet, having a smoothly organic feeling to them. The bass guitar is very melodic and yet keeps a solid backbone for the two lyrical guitars that perfectly play with each other.
You may wonder what an instrumental band does with fifteen minute songs. They are neither boringly repetitive nor sounding like an artificial construction of song bites that don't seem to fit. Seven Mile Journey take their time to build up tension and momentum, and what often starts like introverted, solipsistic guitar music will gradually evolve into a dynamic post rock number with tons of drive, as can be witnessed especially on the album's long tracks.
Seven Mile Journey may not yet be Premier League, but for a debut, this is a more than respectable feat. The stripped down music always keeps the tone rather sombre, and there are no single moments that tend to stick out. Instead The Journey Studies works as an entity, leaving you only with the regret than one more long piece would have given even more substance to this already very nourishing product. Post rock fans (GBYE, Explosions In The Sky, A Silver Mount Zion,...) have to check this album out!