The American Dollar – 4 BC
by Emīls Vilcāns
Hailing from Queens, NYC, the electronic fused post-rock duo The American Dollar set-out for a goal of releasing a new track at the first day of each month throughout 2017. Filing the idea under a simple flag of 2017 Releases on their bandcamp, they come forth with a spaciously ambient synth/drum fueled ride – 4 BC (December 1st, 2016).
Masterfully capturing the melancholic and soulful feelings within their works, the post-rock ambiance masters from Queens, NYC – The American Dollar have a respectable discography to present, their rise dating back to 2005. With traditional post-rock compositional influences, John Emanuele (drums/keyboard) and Richard Cupolo (guitar/keyboard) dwell within the third wave of the genre, fusing their drum/guitar collaboration with extensive use of synth layering, sampling and keyboards. Keeping rather silent since the release of their last studio album Across The Oceans (December 10th, 2015), the duo had only hinted once in mid-June that things have been stirring over at their camp. Presenting almost 50 seconds of what sounded like a rather downtempo’ish beat-based track, it seemed as if The American Dollar was stepping in the same footprints as Arms And Sleepers with their recent works. Nevertheless, with the release of 4 BC and the announcement of releasing a fresh track at the start of each month during 2017, we can surely expect some dips into the ambient, the post and the space.
Upon the first listen of the 4 minute piece – 4 BC, it strikes as a rather minimalistic piece with a nice emphasis on the drum-part, lead by an angel chant sounding synth layer, yet, there’s a lot more happening within. Opening up with a dripping xylophone sample that stretches out through the first part of the track, it paints a picture of melting icicles as time slips by that much faster. Calmly tipping on the hi-hat, John Emanuele enters the scene, soon growing into a laid-back glitch filled drum journey, hinting towards the likes of math-rock. With the first sounds of the oozing bass layer, the track instantly gains it’s creatively spacious depth, at some parts dotted with delayed synth effects and in-strummed guitar chords. That said, the layered synthesizer ambiance drags towards the works of Hammock. Keeping up the cinematic/soundtrack-like progression, the track breaks down half-way and goes into a simplified chord arpeggio. Showing the door towards the culmination with a reversed delay effect, the track kind-of explodes into louder, more layer-rich apex. Meanwhile keeping to the same flow as before. Loosing the intro loop, the last chapter of the song grows with a crescendo-like progression, adding noisy distorted/delayed guitar lines and signaling piano notes by Richard Cupolo. All up until the screeching thickness gives out it’s last delayed breath, leaving behind a feeling of a missing continuation.