An article by The Silent Ballet Staff


25. The World on Higher Downs- A Muted Street Song
It’s rare that a piece can have both an immediate and a powerful lasting effect on you. I don’t know whether it’s the delicious timing or the precious layers of such beautiful, delicate melodies, whether it’s the transcendent layering of such unique instrumentation, computerized or otherwise, or whether it’s simply the immense pleasure of having it softly glide passed the fortunate ears it’s gracing, “A Muted Street Song” is just, as plainly as I can put it, a fucking beautiful song. (Mac Nguyen)

24. Giants
- The Palace Stands in its Proper Place
This is a warning: if you are the sort of person who like to use shuffle mode, this song has the kind of intro that could shock you out of your seat. Immediate and powerful, Giants let you know right away whether or not “The Palace Stands in its Proper Place.” Quick to the punch when so many other songs of this type are still winding up, “Palace” is almost as astonishing in its succinctness as in its impact. Juggling between slow and fast, I say that if this song doesn’t leave you reeling, then your name is Mike Tyson – and you’re probably too busy eating babies to notice anyway. For everybody else, this song is a condensed nugget of consummate enjoyment. Just expect to have a few bruises afterwards. (Tom Butcher)

23. Vladislav Delay
- I Saw a Polysexual
Once Sasu gets going, he’s really impossible to stop. Halfway through one of his best albums he breaks out “I Saw a Polysexual,” the epitome of the restrained and condensed Vladislav sound. “I Saw a Polysexual” manages to cram microhouse groove, bubbly dub basslines, and Sasu’s trademark kitschy electronic style into a powerful and nearly transcendent track. (Jack Britton)


22. Explosions in the Sky -The Birth and Death of Day

Four years ago, it would have been inconceivable to think that Explosions in the Sky’s next album would not even make the top 50 instrumental releases of the year. But here we stand, with an EitS-less list. That their still-pretty-damn-good All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone could be absent speaks volumes about how far the genre has progressed, and how far they have not. Still, they do have moments of greatness remaining, if this track is to be believed. With a raw authenticity and ferocity which was sorely missed on the rest of the new LP, “The Birth and Death of the Day” shows that this poster-child of post-rock may have some life in it yet. One thing’s for sure: if the whole album had been this good, they’d be sitting pretty. (Tom Butcher)

21. Aerial
- My God, It's Full of Stars

Aerial’s piece is an unfolding discovery, brought to life in a real, raw, and memorable sense. The equal amount of joy and aggression, discerningly timed throughout, makes it the perfect sample to encapsulate the album it comes from. The gorgeous instrumental layers in the opening to this song add a bonus symbolic analogy to the title: the crashing of the cymbals could be the ‘surprise’ element (‘My God’), while the twinkling guitar work may be the ‘stars’, all in distinct stop-start timing. The very brief inclusion of vocals also serves the bridge of this song well. (Mac Nguyen)

20. Eluvium
- Repose in Blue

There are some pieces of music which I simply can't listen to without imagining them providing the soundtrack for some sort of beautiful film sequence, and this closing track to Eluvium's February release, Copia, is one of those. If we were to succumb to satisfying predictability, the film sequence in question would of course be in sweeping slow motion, maybe in monochrome, and not very much at all would happen. It would, however, happen in a particularly beautiful way. This is a picturesque track to end a picturesque record and has provided the backdrop for many cold walks home this winter. (Fred Bevan)

19. Signal Hill - California is Too Long

I t’s always nice when you randomly find a promising new band on myspace – and it’s even better when that band illustrates exactly why your initial impressions should be trusted with the release of a stunning EP. For me, Signal Hill is one such discovery. Drawing on influences such as The Mercury Program, The Six Parts Seven and, erm, Twin Peaks, “California Is too Long” must rank as one of the more uplifting instrumental songs of the year, with an enticing blend of intertwining guitars and piano sandwiched around a rather intriguing soundbite. (Richard White)

18. To Be a High Powered Executive - Cosummation

To Be a High Powered Executive were an unexpected surprise this year, and “Consummation” highlights why we are falling for the charm of this curiously named group. Hooking us with guitar riffs that could dwell near lampposts and charge by the hour, the piece ushers in relentless, energetic drumming that would transform the perception of whatever platform you’re standing on into a dance floor. There is a seldom a moment where it loses its momentum, and its progressively loudening yet consistently catchy nature would easily make a real crowd-pleaser. (Mac Nguyen)

17. Tulsa Drone - The Catch
“The Catch” doesn't seem all that impressive on the surface – there is no chaotic climax, no frenetic time changes, no monumental riffs, nothing, in short, to make the listener say “Wow, this is a wicked track!” But as the song bores into your consciousness, all of the little things Tulsa Drone does so well come to light. From the warm drone of the bass dulcimer, to the neatly plucked guitar, to that bass line that you just can't get out of your head, everything just melds together perfectly, highlighting everything that makes Songs for a Mean Season a diamond in the rough of the instrumental scene. When the trumpet comes in to usher the song to its close, any doubts of the band's merit are cast aside, and you realize that this is truly one of the most addictive tracks of the year. (Zach Mills)

16. Sennen
- Redshift

The opening track you've not heard from an EP you've not heard that somehow managed to climb its way way to the top of a list of bands you've not heard is, well, pretty darn good. Redshift is a sexy track that just oozes coolness. I imagine these cats have no problem seducing any lady that comes their way and have the pick of the litter whenever they take the stage. Don't believe me? Just try to keep your pants on when that trumpet barges in nine minutes into the track. (Lee Whitefield)

15. Joy Wants Eternity
- Above the Cloud Lies Eternal Sun

The second track from Joy Wants Eternity’s long-awaited debut album, “Above The Clouds Lies Eternal Sun” greatly appeals to the mathematics geek in me - in a similar vein to Mogwai’s “Ex-cowboy,” this song represents a damn fine musical approximation of a symmetrical bimodal distribution curve (well I did warn you I was a geek). Following a placid intro, layers of melodic and tremolo-infused guitar lines build to a crescendo. A second climax follows a brief lull, with the layers gradually unraveling as the track draws towards a close – the whole affair lasting less than four minutes. What “Above The Clouds Lies Eternal Sun” lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. (Richard White)

14. Pg.Lost - Yes I Am

With their 2005 demos giving no more than a tantalizing glimpse of the wonders still to come, Pg.Lost’s debut EP is one of the unexpected highlights of 2007. The title track is an enchanting, delay-fueled melody which fades out to nothing just shy of 4 minutes. Most bands would quite reasonably call it a day here, safe in the knowledge that they’d created a masterpiece – not Pg.lost, though. After a hiatus lasting several seconds, a lone drum beat kicks the song back into action, with some crushing distortion bringing the track to a brilliant finish. (Richard White)

13. Six Parts Seven - Stolen Moments

I feel like I could write about this song forever. It starts off gradually with gentle guitars and then those horns sound off at thirty seconds in, and absolutely everything seems perfect in this world. Ladies and gentlemen: I welcome you to the most sublime auditory moment of 2007. The song meanders along, maintaining its spiritual magnificence for another three minutes, and then, almost as quietly as it came into being, “Stolen Moments” is gone. Rarely is music so pleasant; rarer still is it so tender. This is the sort of music that makes you feel like hugging everybody around you. Every note drips with hidden meaning, awaiting the listener’s interpretation – stolen moments indeed. (Tom Butcher)

12. Balmorhea
- Dream of Thaw

The beauty of Balmorhea’s music is that it speaks almost inherently to the heart. The whispered, aluminum resonances of the solely acoustic “Dream of Thaw” elucidates this maxim. The band’s exquisite self-titled album includes similar offerings that flirt between James Blackshaw and Summer McKane tendencies, yet they rarely reach the emotional heights of the melodic beauty and minimalism shown here - the dueling guitars weave a gorgeous pattern of repeating chords and riffs that sound organic and profound. For five minutes Balmorhea are enchanting, simple and so very, very special. (Alex Bradshaw)

11. Cue
- Can You See My Skeleton

"Can You See My Skeleton" is a triumph of a piece in so many ways. Nesting in amongst a veritable banquet of standout tracks from Wedding Song by chamber-rock cum post-rock underdogs ‘Cue, it is a seven and a half minute epic. So many different styles present themselves to the listener, from triumphant chamber-rock to subtle meditative pizzicato via distorted fist-shaking mayhem. Barely has one song felt so much like a whole album in both stylistic scope and emotional diversity, that you are left just as excited as the last notes fade away as you were when the frantic violin presents itself at the beginning. (Barry Smethurst)

10. Efterklang - Himmelbjerget

“Himmelbjerget” showcases the astounding range and depth achievable by everyone's favorite Danish post-rockers. The track moves from dark to light and back again, stretching the apparent boundaries of musical expression until they are large enough for Efterklang to breathe in, and forcing everyone who comes after them to up their game if they want to reach the heights of expression that Efterklang seem to pull off so easily. This track, aptly named after the highest point in Denmark (the word means “Sky Mountain”), is the highest point of the band's career so far – a fitting testament to the song's craftsmanship and beauty. (Zach Mills)

9. Johnnytwentythree
- Ghost Soldiers

Few post-rock tracks actually merit being as long as they do. Clocking in somewhere past twenty minutes, "Ghost Soldiers" is a notable exception. Johnnytwentythree really are masters of the quiet-loud dynamic medium. On "Ghost Soldiers," they execute the most important part of the build-up better than almost any other band: the development. J23 take the time to develop their themes, so when they peak, it is actually worth it. Ghost Soldiers is a perfect example of how to write an instrumental song, ignore gimmicks and let the music speak for itself. (Jack Britton)

8 . The Pirate Ship Quintet - I Kina Spinser De Hund

In China they may eat dogs, but “I Kina Spiser De Hund” is more like the filet mignon of quiet-loud post-rock than the meat of its namesake. A pounding, driving intro gives way to a soft, ambient affair dominated by intertwining cello and piano. But this is a quiet-LOUD song, and just when you think The Pirate Ship Quintet has winded the song down to nothing, it explodes even louder than before, causing a few jumps of shock from unsuspecting listeners. The primal scream at the end acts as an exclamation point, demonstrating to all the world that this is a band that will not be ignored. (Zach Mills)

7. 65daysofstatic - Don't Go Down to Sorrow
As the first glimpse from The Destruction of Small Ideas, ”Don’t Go Down to Sorrow” showcased what the third album from 65daysofstatic was all about. The gentle piano led intro, dismissed as too quiet and poor production by many, is ultimately intentional, forcing you to strain and appreciate every note, making it so much sweeter when the melody kicks in. Metal chugging takes over, before the signature sound of frenetic guitars and electro beats brings everything to a climatic end. Only one band is capable of making this blissful noise, and that band is 65dos.
(James Ould)

6.Ours to Alibi - Beacons
Despite not snagging a spot on the larger album feature, Ours to Alibi must be doing something right in order to grab the slot for sixth greatest track of the year. And it is so; "Beacons" is perhaps the best composed epic track of 2007. A personal favorite, it sends chills down my spines every time I turn it on. Even though the album at large had its fair share of issues, "Beacons" is the closest to perfection we saw in 2007. Year after year I keep expecting to get tired of the epic post-rock gig, but with tracks like this, it's near impossible not to get completely lost in Ours to Alibi's majestic sound. Hopefully the next release taps more into this magical sound. (Jordan Volz)

5. Beware of Safety
- To the Roof...Let's Jump and Fall

A piece which sat comfortably atop our weekly top tracks for weeks on end, Beware of Safety’s epic conclusion to its impressive debut EP would inevitably find a place on this list. It could be said that the ends, a heartbreaking guitar melody patiently built up in layers until its cathartic climax, justify the means of an overused quiet-loud structure. It could also be said that the ability Beware of Safety demonstrate in their flawless execution, largely due to its tight and balanced composition, not only excuses them from quiet-loud framework, but altogether elevates the standard of climactic delivery in quiet-loud music. (Mac Nguyen)

4. Battles - Tonto

It really could have been any song taken from the superb Mirrored that made this list, but we’ve plumped for “Tonto,” the possibly Wizard of Oz inspired middle point of Battles debut offering. Altered tempo guitar loops start things off, bringing in warped vocals to play over that infectious melody, as the track hurtles towards a couple of customary tempo changes and intricate guitar work, before that melody winds everything down to a slow and gentle stop, and seven joyous minutes have passed you by. (James Ould)

3. Holy Fuck
- Lovely Allen

Holy Fuck will probably always be known as the messed up electronic gear heads. Their EP and full lengths exhibit a true understanding of classic electronica, and their modern approach puts them miles ahead of most contemporary acts. But "Lovely Allen" is an insight into the tender heart of Holy Fuck. It shows that they have not forgotten how powerful a good melody can be when coupled with lethal beats. Lovely Allen combines post-rock conventions with traditional Holy Fuck electric mayhem in a truly unique and breathtaking way. (Jack Britton)

2. Kashiwa Daisuke - Stella

It would be an absolute lie to say I had not balked slightly at the prospect of having to write a blurb for this particular piece of music. I am impeded not only by doubts of my ability to do it justice, but also by the sheer scale of the piece. At just under 36 minutes long, to try and describe the song as a whole for those who have not necessarily heard it before and who might be put off by such an apparently unwieldy timestamp is a fairly daunting task, even though I suspect that most who have actually listened to the song in its entirety would be able to assert that at no point does the length begin to become even slightly noticeable in a pejorative way. This is one of those tracks which reveals new moments you hadn't previously noticed the genius behind on every successive listen. The sigh which fleetingly interrupts the music at 5m2s, the entrance of that stellar driving section at 13m6s, the chromatically descending strings transition at 20m57s. I personally cannot fault this track on anything. Daisuke's attention to detail is breathtaking and I suspect somewhat humbling to those of us who have ever even attempted to compose a multi-instrumental piece of music. I hesitate to use such slapdash platitudes as to call this a masterpiece, and perhaps in the future Daisuke will surpass even my expectations of him, but cautious cynicism aside this truly is a magnificent track. (Fred Bevan)

1. Caspian - Crawlspace
When Caspian first previewed – or should I say unleashed? – a track from The Four Trees to a hitherto unsuspecting audience, even die-hard fans sat up to take notice. Worlds away from their debut EP, the sublime “Crawlspace” represents a considerably darker, heavier side to the band. A pizzicato intro gives way to some frankly fierce guitar lines, but let your attention stray at your peril – the calm before the storm (and by ‘storm’ I mean the post-rock equivalent of Hurricane Katrina) comes at around the five-and-a-half minute mark. Earplugs are entirely optional, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. (Richard White)