Erik Rodriguez aka cssc describes himself as a kid with a laptop, a midi controller and FL Studio that began making music a little less than 4 years ago, and since people began noticing and enjoying it, he decided to continue. Listening to his 6th self-released album Overgrown we should be grateful he made that choice, since this is truly lovely music. Rodriguez cites Explosions in the Sky, 65daysofstatic and other post-rock bands as his main influences, and while he does share the sensibility of many of these bands, his sound is entirely different, which is to be expected after 6 albums which have given him the opportunity to grow as an artist and explore new avenues of expression. It is not easy to categorize the music of cssc as it borrows elements from a variety of genres, the same way artists such as Two Bicycles, Winterlight, sink \ sink, The Echelon Effect, Crisopa and many others do to build something that isn’t entirely post-rock (too quiet and with plenty of blips), but can’t be described as electronic (too organic), ambient (weird sounds pop up all over the place), folktronica or dream pop either.
Perhaps this is what the instrumental music we began listening to a few years ago, and was the reason websites such as this one exist in the first place, has evolved into. With the usage of software and the various possibilities they offer to produce a richer sound, as well as the need for a “quiet antidote” to the cacophony of what has come to be described as civilization, artists such as cssc and their low-key, lo-fi, humane approach are becoming more and more necessary. The album still has its minor crescendos such as in the opening track “Comatose” but they are relatively restrained. The quiet-loud approach of post-rock which felt like climbing a mountain and then jumping off a cliff into chaos (with your parachute on of course), has been replaced with a trek among hills covered with all kinds of flora and fauna. The ups and downs are not as intense, but they occur more often and are more colorful. The tracks drag on, some such as “Wither. Wilt” for more than 10 minutes, but I would never have noticed if not looking at the time, since cssc has enough imagination to avoid making them repetitive. The music, deviating into a form of electronic piano-jazz in some cases, often brings to mind images from autumn such as the beautiful album cover by Yagiz Su. My favorite track in the album however is “Time To Grow” whose title encompasses the general feeling produced by this album and the need to grow (a need that can take multiple dimensions). Field recordings of children playing, accompanied by what sounds like a xylophone, which grows louder and louder until its covered by new and different sounds, which in the end sound similar to the ones at the beginning of the track. The music may be mutating, but its essence remains the same, and the artist proves capable of clutching at the listener’s heart when he chooses to do so.
While Overgrown is a remarkable piece of work with only a few flaws, cssc’s previous albums which can be found at the link below (all of them with wonderful artwork) are also recommended and hopefully we hear more from Mr. Rodriguez in the future. (John Kontos)