Illustration titled "Just Hear that Wind" from the Deseret Sunday School Union's The Instructor vol. 91 Issue 2, 1956
When you start listening to Disco Inferno's The 5 EPs, the first thing you hear is a strummed guitar and sampled birdsong - the two sounds blend together in an interesting way that is barely structured enough to be called music. Gradually, a melodic bassline, high-pitched chimes, and marching footsteps are added to flesh out the arrangement, and a voice in a heavy English accent starts half-singing/half-speaking, reciting bitter lines about the unfair treatment of immigrants. The overall effect of the track is disconcerting because it is so musical while being composed largely of non-musical elements - at first listen, this song ("Summer's Last Stand") seems in line with the latest musical trends. Unless you happen to know that this song dates back to 1992. If you do know the vintage of this track, you have to marvel at the ingenuity required to have recorded something this forward-thinking almost twenty years ago.
During the peak of their brief existence, Disco Inferno released two albums and (you guessed it!) five EPs, which are collected for the first time on this newly released compilation. Arranged chronologically, the EPs create a fascinating narrative of unsettling and unsettlingly beautiful sample-integrating post-rock, starting with Summer's Last Stand and A Rock to Cling To. These two EPs explore the approach of the song "Summer's Last Stand", layering rock sounds and sound effects into song forms that are much too coherent to be fairly called collages. But the band's melodicism came to the fore with the next two EPs, The Last Dance and Second Language, where the melody is not carried solely by the bass guitar as in earlier songs - frontman Ian Crause's singing gets stronger, more melodic, and more optimistic-sounding, and he pairs it with a clean, shimmering guitar sound. The collection ends with It's a Kid's World, where Disco Inferno move in the other direction, leaning more and more heavily on samples to create a more cinematic soundscape. The collection ends perfectly with "Lost In Fog", where an eerie wash of keyboards and the recording of a doomed cosmonaut falling to earth provides a brilliant counterpoint to the sunrise and singing birds that started the immersive journey through The 5 EPs.
"At the End of the Line" by Disco Inferno