In many parts of the world, post-rock is either dead, dying, or unnoticed. Not so in Russia, where the scene is flourishing. The release of an acoustic album is a sure sign that a band is doing well; even more so is a packaged release. Acoustic, which was recorded live on Rain TV, is available in digital, CD, DVD and combo formats.
When MTV started its Unplugged series way back in 1989, it was a way for artists to demonstrate that they really were competent – not just studio creations or post-production constructs. Acoustic provides Mooncake with the same opportunity, and just as Unplugged enhanced the reputation of its participants, so should this new entry in the post-rock canon. Not all of the selections needed to be acoustic – the majestic “Turquoise” already leaned that way – but the newly-arranged tracks highlight the nuances of the compositions. Oddly enough, while the original “Turquoise” is superior due to its semi-acoustic nature, the acoustic “Nine Billion Names” flips the script from thick to thin and ends up as an improvement. The ups and downs of “Mandarin”and “Zaris” are preserved even without the electric sheen, while the excesses of “Novoroslysk 1968” are toned down. Perhaps part of the reason for the EP’s effectiveness is that while post-rock too often tends to seem dated, the timeframe of an acoustic guitar riff is difficult to pinpoint. This makes the new versions at times seem a lot newer than the originals, and perhaps more enduring. More post-rock artists should try this. (Richard Allen)