Trackpacking: Explosions in the Sky

by Keith Savage · 15 comments

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Trackpacking is a recurring series highlighting musicians that inspire me to travel.

It’s ironic, given the nature of this post, that I consider silence to be a hugely important aspect of travel. Well, mental silence to be more specific. Contemplation. Space for rumination. Room to ponder. Think about gazing out the train window as you chug between mountain peaks, or crossing a monumentally flat expanse in your rental car, or descending beneath the cloud cover just as the sun peaks over the rim of the world. I need to slow down in moments like these and process the journey and my emotions. Because it’s so bittersweet to only comprehend these intangibles after the trip is over, I am constantly seeking understanding in situ.

There is music in the world to make this easier. One band that makes it is Explosions in the Sky .

Explosions in the Sky is a four-piece instrumental post-rock band from Austin, Texas formed in 1999. Their music is immediately affecting and epic in its movements and length, taking you through delicate moments of near silence to deafening cataclysms of sound. Each song is a narrative that’s cinematic in its execution. In other words, it’s perfect soundtrack music, and I often use it as a soundtrack for my life. In fact, I rarely go on a trip without a bunch of Explosions in the Sky tracks on the iPod.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys live and it’s almost more incredible that they can pull off these arrangements on any given night. The energy of their music is contagious, filling you up with its power and sending your imagination wild with the thought of places to visit, things to do, and life to live. Beneath each song lies a powerful melody and deep emotional well, and it’s this latter aspect, especially, that draws me to the music.

Never heard of this newfangled post-rock? Don’t think you’d like rock without vocals? If you’re a fan of strong melodies, emotionally-engaging songs, or just looking for a good soundtrack for your travels, check out Explosions in the Sky. You might just find their songs echoing in your mind during those special moments of your trips.

Pack these Tracks

  • The Birth And Death Of A Day , from All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone. Explodes in and out of this world – the last best day.
  • The Only Moment We Were Alone , from The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. Like a flower of hope blossoming from a single, shared glance.
  • Yasmin The Light , from Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever. The fire drying tears on your cheeks.
  • Your Hand In Mine , from The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. A ghostly, poetic reminder that life is meant to be lived.
  • Remember Me As A Time Of Day , from How Strange, Innocence. Wistful kiss goodbye, the memory of which almost becomes real.

Create a Moment

  • Pour over guidebooks into the early hours with this playing through your headphones.
  • Cancel the ambient train noise and drift off across the landscape.
  • Fill up your place with good friends, good conversation, good drinks, and these tracks on your stereo.

Have some music that moves you? Share it in the comments – I’d love to hear it!

Original photo by Jaime Pérez via Flickr under Creative Commons

tinayNo Gravatar March 27, 2010 at 10:43 AM

And by the way, you may want to check out Hammock. Another post-rock band I listen to whenever I need that journey inside. 🙂
.-= tinay´s last blog ..takos =-.


KeithNo Gravatar March 28, 2010 at 8:49 AM

Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to check out Hammock.


KeithNo Gravatar April 1, 2010 at 1:51 PM

I’ve had a chance to listen to Hammock and I really like them! They’ve got a nice chill-out sleeping in the sun vibe. Thanks!


tinayNo Gravatar April 1, 2010 at 8:31 PM

no biggie Keith. this is my fave vid from them

Other bands that I like listening to (also post-rock, stargaze, ambient): Sigur Ros, Mogwai, God is an Astronaut.

and if one day, you wanna visit the Philippines, let me know! 😉
.-= tinay´s last blog ..takos =-.


tinayNo Gravatar March 27, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Bookmarked your nook days ago and decided to read you today. Seeing your post about my favorite band makes my heart skip a beat 🙂 Just like you, ETS is my travel buddy. Their music is a sublime gateway. I hope to see them live.
.-= tinay´s last blog ..takos =-.


PoiNo Gravatar March 24, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Explosions in the sky, perfect for those chill out moments to sit back and think or take everything in. Hopefully some more people will get to enjoy their stuff thanks to your post.


KeithNo Gravatar March 24, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Hey Poi, I agree. They really deserve greater exposure.


GrayNo Gravatar March 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM

I think, if we’re all honest with ourselves, we’ll find that music serves as a soundtrack to all of our lives. Different kinds of music complement different experiences. I have certain CDs I put in my car when I’m going on a longish road trip, because I know it’s good “driving music”. Other music I like to listen to when I’m in an airport or on a plane. When I like to be alone with my thoughts (as opposed to having someone else’s thoughts shoved onto me), I prefer instrumental soundtracks as well. Now I’m going to go check out this band. Thanks for the suggestion, Keith!
.-= Gray´s last blog ..5 Reasons to Take an Organized Tour =-.


KeithNo Gravatar March 18, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Hey Gray, hope you like these guys. Their music often really fits my mood.


AdamNo Gravatar March 16, 2010 at 9:58 PM

I always liked the album art on the Explosions in the Sky albums but never really got into the songs enough. I’ll try out your recommended tracks and give ’em another try.

I go back and forth on whether plugging in my iPod is a good idea while on the road, but in the end, there are certain moments that really benefit from a soundtrack. I’m with you on the importance of silence, too.
.-= Adam´s last blog ..Polaroid Post: Texas State Capitol =-.


KeithNo Gravatar March 17, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Certain moments should be appreciated with nothing but the sound of the experience in your ears. Listening to music, however, is a great way to create an anchor in your memory. When you hear the songs that played at those points during your trip, later, they often invoke lucid and highly detailed memories.


Nomadic ChickNo Gravatar March 16, 2010 at 8:39 PM

I’ve never heard of these guys, but looking them up ASAP. Thanks for the recommendation Keith!
.-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog ..Denial =-.


KeithNo Gravatar March 17, 2010 at 10:40 AM

You’re welcome – hope you enjoy their music!


diana ellefsonNo Gravatar March 16, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Great post! I did a “top 5 travel songs” on my website… check it out! and I am on twitter too!


KeithNo Gravatar March 16, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Cool, thanks for stopping by Diana! Hope to see you ’round these parts again.


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