The Post Death Soundtrack – The Unlearning Curve

Album rating: 7.4 – learning to unlearn.

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Photo: Courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

Formed back in 2007 in Calgary, Canada, Post Death Soundtrack is a trio comprised of Kenneth Buck, Steve Moore, and Jon Ireson. 

After going MIA for three years, Post Death Soundtrack is back in the game with their new nine-track record, The Unlearning Curve, which they released in May of this year. It is a hazy, genre-crossing mélange of New Age, ambient music, electronic, rock, and pop that fluctuates between concrete expression and silent abstraction. Stitching the glitchy synth beats with cryptic lyrics, Post Death Soundtrack takes us into a self-awakening journey through a rare soundscape of diverse palette.

The first greeter of the album, “That Which Is,” has a clockwork-like rhythm where the ticking pace radiate the incessant motion of time – this perpetual notion is the center of the opener. “Don’t let it stop you / The noise of unease” chant the smoky vocals of Kenneth Buck and Steve Moore. This need for persisting incessantly is a consistent motif throughout the album where the quest for personal meaning and disabusing from others’ perceptions is the main narrative. In “You Can’t Go Back,” we are suspended in a Matrix-esqu, post-red pill phase where we know “The system is out of order” and there is no turning back. The first two tracks are slightly motoric in rhythm and the catchiness lies in the lyrics more than the melody.

Despite the downtempo openings, The Unlearning Curve quickly picks up electric buzz through its eccentric assembly of vibrant percussive layering and euphonious dissonance. “Our Time Is Now” and “Beauty Eyes I Adore” gravitate more towards the electronic side while retaining the lyrical aesthetics that often feel scatterbrained, but still comprehensible. While the vocals always stand in the forefront of the songs, there is one instance when they take a secondary role. In “Arrhythmia Dreaming,” Buck and Moore’s voices adopt the form of echo and get awash by the assembly of industrial and experimental samplers that make it impossible to digest what they are saying. But despite this, the melodic verve injects you with an exhilaration that makes up for the lost words.

Most of the ingredients for The Unlearning Curve are chaotic fragments – they are elements from multiple genres that seem like a recipe for disaster if combined together, but ended yielding a harmoniously outré sound. There is, however, one instance when the trio fails to pull this off. “Little Alice” is an example of mismatching two genres and not creating a mutual ground for them to co-exist. While the vocals radiate the stamina of metal, the tune lacks the sonic thrill that goes along with such zeal, providing the listener with a flummoxing and frustrating experience. But the follow up, “Through The Gates,” quickly compensates for it with its minimalistic, moody tone that emits a haunting yet tranquil air.

Post Death Soundtrack makes a grand exit with their last two songs, “Dance with the Devil” and “Transform in White Light.” Whereas the former has pop moments embedded within mounting electronic tension, the latter wraps it up with the reassurance that “No one knows what we are…Just let you colours run / Transform in white light.” This age-imparting wisdom is what Post Death Soundtrack passes on to us with their new record that often feels like listening to a deliberately, calculated assembly of different tunes while other times it feels like hearing a spontaneous rendezvous of varying melodies.

You can get the entire album here.

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