Terraformation – Rain Shadow

Terraformation is a group from Tuscon, Arizona who are basically a duo of multi-instrumentalists Ben DeGain and Mohadev. They play an instrumental form of post-rock similar to Tortoise. They sound similar but not derivative. There are not many bands who sound like Tortoise, my favourite group to be labelled “post-rock”. Like them, the music of Terraformation is bass-heavy with sometimes jazzy drumming; features extensive use of vibraphones as well as electronics/keyboards(and other ‘non-rock’ instruments); and minimalistic guitar lines. Also like Tortoise the music constantly shifts and changes but usually comes back to an earlier theme.

There are guest musicians here as well who contribute when they are needed. Rain Shadow is the group’s third album and features some excellent melodies played on a variety of instruments. There is somewhat of an old time movie soundtrack feel at times, something Tortoise dabbles in but not as much as is here. That band also generally does not use as much acoustic guitar as is on this album. “Sundrenched” is a highlight. Starting with guitar notes and busy vibes, when the rhythm section arrives the music goes almost into a march before the tempo picks up. Great duelling vibes brings the music to a different section. Repeating synth notes leads the music into a slightly darker section with military style drumming. Then a great fuzzed-out, atonal guitar solo. Some backwards sounds as the duelling vibes come back to end the track.

“Gathering Time” begins rather dark and somber sounding, but out of nowhere becomes bright and happy sounding; like dark clouds letting the sunshine in. Later goes into a groove with a shuffling beat. A bass line becomes a synth line as the other instruments play around it. Electronic percussive sounds fade out as vibes fade in with some drum rolls. This all segues into…”Elevation.” It starts off the same way the last song ended until it gets to those beautiful synthetic angelic choir vocal sounds. The music changes but those choir sounds never go away. “Apex Prey” is a standout track. Easy going acoustic guitar leads to some pounding tom-tom centred drumming while some cool synth lines show up.

From there it morphs into different musical ideas, sometimes featuring both guitar and synth arpeggios. Goes through a drumless section with vibes and melodica(?) I think; you hear this instrument on a few songs here. Then the original acoustic guitar part from the beginning comes back. “Where Moth And Rust Corrupt” features some nice violin and pedal steel guitar playing, as well as some noticeable electronic beats and electric piano. This album is recommended to those who enjoy the more jazzy and experimental end of post-rock. It has great sound and production and the music is well written and executed flawlessly. Their albums are available on their bandcamp page as ‘name your price’ offers.


1. Shallow Strata (7:08)
2. Sundrenched (5:13)
3. Pattern Of Patterns (6:26)
4. Gathering Time (5:23)
5. Elevation (4:21)
6. Apex Prey (5:21)
7. Where Moth And Rust Corrupt (5:24)
8. Vacation Chakra (4:55)


* Sam Arnold – guitar (1)
* Nick Coventry – violin (1,7)
* Eric McFarlin – bass (1)
* Kevin Scott – guitar (1)
* Hans Hutchinson – pedal steel guitar (7), acoustic guitar (8)
* Christopher Beeson – electronics (8)
* Fen Ikner – drums (8)
* Christopher Pierce – bass (8)
* Richard Wileman – guitar (8)



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