04 May 2022 - Jonas
Post-Rock | Release date: 05 May 2022
Once upon a time, a group of Romanian friends went up into the mountains and liked it there. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stay at the summit for very long, so now they’re descending the Transylvanian Alps, bringing a brand new album with them, called ‘La Vale’
.. And for that lead paragraph to make sense, we’re going to have to decipher the name of the band, ’Am Fost La Munte Și Mi-a Plăcut’ (which will be abbreviated to AFLMSMP from here on out), which roughly translates to ‘I was in the mountains and liked it there’, which, of course, tracks for post-rock, where mountaineering is a reoccurring theme. The release before this one, ‘La Deal’ (2019), means uphill, so as I’m sure you can guess by now, La Vale means downhill. Are the track titles also poetic? No. From what I’ve been told, they’re all basically memes, puns, and pop culture references, in Romanian, so to my untrained Swedish eyes, it’s still very.. exotic. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter as the music is entirely instrumental anyway, save for a few audio samples. Indeed, this band of brothers (figuratively speaking) is a fun bunch, so you’d think they’d be operating in the realm of ‘fun’ music, like some upbeat math rock, but this is actually quite far from the truth.
If you know me at all or if you’ve read pretty much any of my reviews, you’d know by now how much atmospherics means to me. Give me any genre, make it atmospheric in one way or other, and chances are I’ll like it more. I’m not exactly sure what it is, or why, but the atmosphere in music just beckons me, like a siren of the sea, hence my undying love for post-rock as a genre. Fortunately for me, atmospherics is the signature move of AFLMSMP, and ever since I discovered them ‘S-a Rezolvat. Nu Se Poate.’ (2017), I’ve always been amazed by their implementation of it, not only by adding the usual reverb and delay but also by creating a spatial plane within the music itself.
La Vale, fortunately, isn’t an exception to this. It does have a slightly different sound though, which makes even more sense if you consider the translations of the last two releases, ‘Uphill’ and ‘Downhill’. Where we were ascending the peak on the last album, with build-ups and climaxes, we’re making our way down on this one. It’s a bit more subdued and introspective, without ever sacrificing any atmospheric depth. There’s a sense of having accomplished something, further cemented by listening to these two records back to back. There is, of course, more to this album than just the atmosphere. Much like the songwriting itself, the production is crisp to the point where I feel like I can hear everything, and feel the bass. Nothing is buried and everything is there in all of its glory.
Imagine the emotional high and fulfillment you’d feel after scaling a mountain. Now imagine keeping that high while throwing yourself off of the summit, knowing you wouldn’t fall but float down aimlessly, like a feather. This is what listening to Am Fost La Munte Și Mi-a Plăcut is like, and in particular on La Vale. I can’t believe these guys haven’t been picked up by a label yet, or at the very least become a (hard to pronounce) household name. Hopefully, that will change with this album.