Flipping through the radio stations a few weeks ago, I came across a local college station. The DJ was playing brooding after brooding song, when a droning upright bass began the next track. Almost floating through the airwaves, the bassist's notes were powerful and hypnotizing. Before long, the most elegant and heartbreaking saxophone line entered, creating the most melancholic conjunction of instruments I've heard in a long while. The track slowly built, and and the floodgates of emotion swelled and burst when the drums and piano introduced themselves. When it ended, I felt like I was hit with a tidal wave of emotions, all by a song that lacked words. It was beautifully gloomy, yet hopeful and enchanting. It was just a taste of what Portland's Blue Cranes have created on their new album, Swim.
Blue Cranes are a modern post-jazz band, consisting of two saxophones, drums, bass, and keys. They play a style of music that could be easily clumped into the indie scene, but it demands so much more. Their songs tell stories and contain endless amounts of energy and feeling, all while never uttering a single word. Swim is a magnificent release, which beckons multiple listens and only unveils itself in small pieces.