Yesterday I decided to have a fresh listen of one of my old favorite bands, Rachel’s. This chamber-post-rock outfit may have disappeared soon after I was introduced, but they left an impact for years.
It was nearly 15 years ago when, funny enough, a girl named Rachel gave me a burned CD of Selenography, the band’s 1999 masterpiece. It’d been at least a decade, but when I cued the music up on spotify yesterday, this is the tune that struck me hardest, shooting right through the years to that old memory. It’s an incredibly catchy harpsichord jam called The Mysterious Disappearance of Louis LePrince.
I had remembered the band’s appeal as something ephemeral, understated, and always just out of reach. I nearly loved them at the time, but the music was indefinable in my head. They were, to put it bluntly, pretty out-there for my twenty year old tastes. I was swimming in bombastic post-rock like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, and Explosions in the Sky. Then this band comes along, just as handily destroying my notions of rock music with a three person ensemble, crafting quietly disruptive, subtly disorienting tunes. There were no giant crescendos, no guitar feedback waves, and no apocalyptic imagery. It was simply music I’d never heard before, and didn’t have a framework for truly understanding.
Now, at age 33, it feels like perfectly meditative sound, an organic mixture of spare elements set in clockwork precision, spinning in its own quiet little galaxy far away from the David Bowie and Young Thug albums I’ve been rinsing.
I was curious about the fate of the band, so I looked them up to see if anything was recorded after 2003’s Systems/Layers. Unfortunately, I learned that founding member Jason Noble passed away a few years ago. At least he can rest in peace, knowing he helped create some of the most unique music of the turn of the century.