AND SO I Watch You From Afar have, through the albums All Hail Bright Futures and Heirs, rewritten the rule book on post-rock, kicking the genre out of the clichéd strait-jacket it had fallen into, and thrusting it towards new possibilities.
However, in a change of pace and direction, ASIWYFA leader Rory Friers has begun to explore other interests and musical approaches through his solo side project Thrash Hat.
Thrash Hat is a collection of songs, photographs and artwork by Rory, featuring recorded and sampled audio, together with electronic syntheses, created in the artist's studio on the north coast of Antrim and while travelling in a van on tour with ASIWYFA. The first fruits of this were heard in August via the track 'Pandaface'.
As the name suggests there is a strong Pandabear influence at work here, and this can also be heard, along with some Aphex Twin style glich beats, on the two new tracks 'Owkwerd' and 'Mend and Make Safe' (ASIWYFA Remix ), currently streaming on Soundcloud. 'Mend and Make Safe' is a good, electronic, re-imagining, but 'Owkwerd' is the highlight, its layered textures, and the way it plays around with its central musical theme, make the track languid yet grandstanding, blissful, yet uplifting.
Rory has planned more such material for 2016. On the strength of these, Thrash Hat will be worth keeping an eye on.