52 Reynolds

Simon Reynolds (b. 1963) is an English pop music critic and theorist. He is known for coining the term "post-rock," the genre on which this article is written, and for his application of critical theory — a technique that draws from across the social sciences and humanities — to music criticism.

Reynolds describes "post-rock" as using "guitars but in nonrock ways." Post-rock describes bands who abandon the typical facets of traditional rock such as songwriting, song structure, riffs, and even traditional vocals. Instead of telling a story with a song, a post-rock band focuses more on producing a texture, a soundscape, or an ambiance. Post-rock bands usually add synthesizers and samplers to the traditional rock lineup.

In general, post-rock draws influence from Velvet Underground, Krautrock, Eno, Fripp, Jesus & Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, and A.R. Kane. However, drastic differences exist between the major influences of British and American post-rock. British post-rock is heavily influenced by Jamaican music such as ska, reggae, and dub. British post-rockers rely heavily on techniques drawn from dub (such as heavy reverb "to make each strand of sound occur in its own distinct acoustic space") and hip hop (such as sampling). But though American post-rockers are in closer geographical proximity to genres such as hip hop, rap, and techno, American post-rock rejects the influence of these genres. I wish the article did more to explain why these differences between British and American post-rock exist, and how they affect the sound of these two types of post-rock.

Most rock bands draw popularity from the songwriting and charisma that post-rock lacks. Reynolds describes an interesting scenario that would allow post-rock to go mainstream — like Bob Dylan appearing in front of a folk audience with an electric guitar, someone like Eddie Vedder would have to appear onstage with a sampler. I really enjoyed this comparison because it provided a vivid image of the "radicalness" of post-rock and how far it would have to go to gain mainstream acceptance.

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