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The Swords Project

One of the nicer stories of '90s underground rock -- so-called post-rock, in particular -- has been its increasing use of non-rock -- often chamber music -- instrumentation. Whether it's the Dirty Three, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, or Rodan, violins, violas, cellos, clarinets, oboes, French horns, and other unexpected instruments have been finding regular homes in indie rock compositions, to startling and often stunning effect. Portland's The Swords Project is another such group, boasting a large, eclectic instrumental lineup which features several guitars, bass, two drum kits, clarinet, violin, electric and acoustic piano, and a splash of electronics. Oh, and a touch of vocals from time to time. Godspeed might be the most obvious reference point, but The Swords Project's sound is less self-consciously experimental, smoother, more focused on using ambient textures to evoke a range or musical moods. The music is stately and sedate, warm and delicate, even when it swells occasionally into brief percussion- and electronics-driven instrumental frenzies.

The Swords Project released its debut, a four-song, 27-minute self-titled EP, on Absolutely Kosher in 2001. It includes "The New Assassin."