[The] Slowest Runner [in all the World] - We, Burning Giraffes
Record Label: Future Recordings
Release Date: June 30, 2010
At roughly one hour long, We, Burning Giraffes is a labyrinth. It’s one of those albums where your perception of its quality is dependent on the amount of time you spend with it. At worst, it’s a boring instrumental record; at best, a world teeming with intricacies. But honestly, to be too lazy to know it as anything short of the latter is almost tragic – We, Burning Giraffes is one of the most daring experimental post-rock works of the year.
[The] Slowest Runner [in all the World], as they like to be punctuated, is a six-piece from Brooklyn, New York that bills themselves as a “post-baroque” act. It’s not hard to see why; on We, Burning Giraffes, they often wear a classical influence on their sleeves, like in the opening minutes of “Aembers/Guggenheim,” which sound like a passage from Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (though you can also hear hints of Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah”). But they’re much more than just an old fashioned The Ascent of Everest, as they show in “Zoe Machete Control’s” jazzy, barista-mood keys, which eventually evolve into loud and fuzzy guitars, and in the “[Oscillation]” series, which take a page from ambient drone label mates We All Inherit the Moon. And “We, Burning Giraffes” shows they know how to throw a majestic, standout climax on a commonplace post-rock build. So the band has no shortage of talent, and in multiple facets of the instrumental trade, too.
The stuff they write isn’t exactly built for the movies. Of course, there are a few cinematic moments: The closing minutes of “Aembers/Guggenheim” are something a skeleton could decay to, and “She died in a fit of apoplexy.’s” sunny violin break is simply ceremonious. But for the most part, the music is written for the instrumental enthusiast, as a lot of the string melodies and song structures aren’t straightforward in terms of accessibility. Yet the most beautiful things in life are often the ones that take time to grow on you, and We, Burning Giraffes is a confirmation. It’s hard to stop listening to the orchestral fabric of “Marsupial Patterns” or “Zoe Machete Control’s” noisy fadeout once they become familiar, but you have to give it time.
There’s a certain enduring quality that blankets each track – the kind that makes you think people in the future will come back to We, Burning Giraffes when they study the “post-” greats. Every note is crafted with artistic precision – and often, innovation – in mind. And that’s just what a quickly staling niche is in need of, isn’t it? If this is “post-baroque,” then we all need more of it in our lives.