The Classical Perspective

Seeking a fresh perspective on Explosions in the Sky's instrumental rock, the Chronicle queried the single most important figure in Austin instrumental music, renowned Austin Symphony conductor Peter Bay. Bay was given a promotional advance of the band's new disc, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, and in return gave us his off-the-top assessment of the group's music.

"My first impression is that these guys are really good musicians," declares Bay. "The performance is really great. I think they have worked a lot on refining their sound.

"There's a certain minimalist classical feel to the pieces," he continues. "They really work hard on trying to develop a blend of sound. It's not like any rock band where each instrument has its own individual sound and identity. It's amazing to me how well they blend. I really admire their playing and concept of sound.

"The first thing that came to mind was ["Tubular Bells" composer] Mike Oldfield. Their music is based on repetition and building on that repetition.

"It was a little too repetitive for my taste. I would want to see them live before making any kind of final judgments. Maybe it's a different experience live. I like Philip Glass' music, which is also based on repetition. Yet I feel it's much more interesting to hear it live than to hear it on a disc."

Bay finished by inquiring about the band's previous efforts, going so far as to say that not only would he seek out a copy of Explosions' previous album, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever at Waterloo Records, but that he'd consider purchasing a finished copy of The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place to spend more time with.

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