Set and setting is a post-rock outfit from Florida, USA. Post-rock that lends from black-metal, post-metal and some shoegaze/indie. Their album Reflectionless is out on Dunk! records and is a perfect mix of the aforementioned genres, where post-rock and more classic alternative blends with both post-metal and post-black. The difference between other post-metal or post-black bands is that there are no vocals at all. So no growls, no screams, no shrieking. Just the music.
Choosing not to have any vocals at all, makes Reflectionless closer to post-rock. But a more aggressive form of post-rock. I hear Caspian, Russian Circles, Deafheaven, but I also hear Sonic Youth.
Reflectionless opens with Saudade, a strong opener. Blast beats, dissonant guitars, beautiful soundscapes and brilliant breakdowns. Some of the guitars on this song are reminding me a bit of highlight from Sonic Youth‘s masterpiece Daydream Nation. A cool blend with more classic post-rock.
Axiom Dream Within is a more quiet and beautiful song, with long swells, simple guitars and simple melodies, reminding a bit of This Will Destroy You, a cool interlude. Really a short intro really, to the next song The Idyllic Realm.
Heavy-end guitar, with a simple, yet haunting melody on top. It doesn’t take too long before the blast beats kick in, and this is one of the cool parts of Set and Setting. Serving this kind of upbeat post-rock without turning to post-black, but keeping it more post-rock. A bit like Junius without vocals.
Incandescent gleam has a spacey background wobbling, while clean melodic guitars prepare for take-off. Kind of psychedelic. Again an interlude between songs.
Specular Wavefront Of follows with rewind guitar sounds and again, simple clean melodic guitar sets the scene. The build-up is quiet and mesmerizing with a remarkable repetition over bodies of water. It really has a sound of waves rolling in. You just await something to kick in, but there is never a final tsunami arriving, but just a hypnotizing build up. But as more and more details arrive, the song just unfolds to perfection.
After the waves, The Mirrored Self starts up and here we have the more metal like chucking guitars with simple riffs on top. While being one of the more metallic songs on the album it’s lacking a bit in memorable melodies, but in the end, after approx 5 minutes, there’s a really neat part, reminding of some of Russian Circles rhythmic parts.
Eternal Pendulum is one more intermezzo on the record. I think it works quite well with these short pauses between the longer songs.
Ephemerality opens strong, with blast beats, energetic guitars, drilling and a noisy wall of sound guitars before breaking down into a simple beat only accompanied by reverbed guitar. Being the closedown of the album, you usually expect it either to be that grande finale or the quieter fade out. Ephemerality is definitely the former with the wide open sound, the boasting, roaring guitars, and mile-wide synthscapes. Ephemerality has more to offer when the song changes direction to a more alternative/indie sound after approximately 3 minutes. The end song sums up the sound of Set And Setting and closes down Reflectionless with a thunderous grace combined with an ephemeral boast of fine details. An ending that makes you wanna turn the vinyl and begin from Saudade once again, this time just louder.
A Remarkable Release
All in all a compelling and memorable release with good variation, excellent musicianship from all parts and a near perfect flow. I really enjoy that this record has no vocals at all. I think the record, deserves to be listened to as a whole, and I hope that this is also the way Set and Setting would perform live.
Only minor thing is, Set and Setting could be a bit more brutal in their heavy parts. I kind of miss some really heavy guitars in those parts, maybe just a bit lower tuning on some instruments, and give the guitar and bass, an even more brutal fuzz/overdrive pedal. Another minor thing. I love the tuning of the snare drum, but slightly more of in the mix would have been cool. Actually, I wouldn’t mind the drums in general to have a bit more volume in the mix.
Take a listen to Reflectionless here on Bandcamp and secure a copy from Dunk!Records