My Education: Italian (Thirty Ghost Records, 2005)

by Jason

My Education ItalianFormed with ex and current members of Stars of the Lid, Ultrasound, Cinders, ECFA, The Brian Purgington Presents American Vodka, and The Fat Girlz, My Education brings a momentous sound that harbors ambience, noise, instrumentation, and raw emotion with unswerving aggressive ease. The roster consists of Sean Seagler (Drums, Percussion), Chris Hackstie (Guitar, Glockenspiel, Lapspiel), James Alexander (Viola), Brian Purington (Guitar), Kirk Laktas (Keys), and Eric Gibbons (Bass, Vox). Hailing from what is becoming instrumental post-rock central, Austin, Texas, My Education brings an eerie, beautiful mix of soft and loud soundscapes. Italian is their second disc released on Thirty Ghosts Records.

Italian begins with “Snake.” A buzz begins, and then a somber piano plays a melancholy tune with viola, shimmering guitars, hums, powerful percussion, and great bass work. There are accents of other percussive instruments and the guitar eventually mirrors the somber melody. This melody dissolves into shrieking guitars, feedback, fuzz and some stripped down percussion. This once again explodes into eruptive, driving guitars that explode out of the speakers. “Plan” begins with breathing counting and then the sound of an organ and some bass work. This explodes into keys and slow tempo guitar and percussion work. The viola flows wistfully in between driving cymbals and raucous guitar. The guitars really play off one another nicely once the wall of sound fall out of the mix. As the song builds, the viola really soars and the mood of the piece is ecstatic. “Thanksgiving” begins with quiet guitar, which flows into a nice rock style piece with moaning guitars, strumming, soft piano, and sweet viola. It’s a beautiful track that is calming and really happens at a perfect place in the album.

“Puppy Intro” is quiet and has a moody, viola feel to it. It has a low rumble and sets the mood for the following track, “Puppy.” “Puppy” livens up a bit and the volume turns up a bit. The sting work on this piece is just beautiful as it intertwines with the piano, percussion, and bass. The viola weeps as the bands turns up the volume and fuzz becomes a part of the mix. The song builds into a cacophony of sound that is huge. This “sound” seems to come to a conclusion with wailing guitars and feedback while the viola plays a singular note in the background. This “conclusion” finally peters out after a few minutes. In homage to their home state of Texas, “Texas” begins with silent guitars and accents of viola and piano. The tract almost has a respectful feel to it; maybe a longing for home is under this stripped down, simple track. It’s breathtaking. “Dirty Hands” is a very lighthearted sounding track with heavy violin. The track drops all the instruments except a stripped down piano.

“Green Intro” introduces the last track called “Green Arrow.” This starts out with a drone and hums for over four minutes. This hum disappears and “Green Arrow” begins. It starts with slightly fuzzy guitar and the pinging of the high hat. This track really anchors the album quite well, bringing together their most emotive moments and walls of sound together. The bass work on this track is superb as well. This track also clocks in at 12:25 minutes and does not disappoint. About at the mid-point of the track, the drums play by themselves and the tempo and tone of the track really change. It goes from a more somber feel to a guitar and aggressive bass and percussion feel. The piano in this part of the track also gets turned up in the mix and is quite aggressive. The song ends in a chaotic swirl of fuzz

With moments of walls of sound, aggressive post-rock, melancholy sections, and patience, My Education brings to the table a formidable piece of beauty and chaos that should be in everyone’s cd library.

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