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Post Rock/Math rock • United States

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Salaryman biography
SALARYMAN are an instrumental quartet formed in Champaign, Illinois, USA by members of indie-rock group THE POSTER CHILDREN. Rick and Jim Valentin as well as Rose Marshack were joined by drummer Howie Kantoff to record their TORTOISE-inspired debut album. The band later toured with TORTOISE as well as the German IDM duo MOUSE ON MARS. They released three studio albums between 1997 and 2006. The sound of the group is in the more electronic side of early post-rock; although they have a sense of humour at times, the music itself can be more dark and sinister sounding. Recommended to fans of the more electronic and rhythmic post bands of the 1990s.

Darryl (zravkapt)

Salaryman official website

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Electric ForestElectric Forest
Twelve Inch (Redeye) 2006
Audio CD$8.94
$3.71 (used)
Karoshi by Salaryman (2002-01-01)Karoshi by Salaryman (2002-01-01)
Twelve Inch (Redeye)
Audio CD$36.09
Voids+superclusters remix+3 (white label) / Vinyl Maxi Single [Vinyl 12'']Voids+superclusters remix+3 (white label) / Vinyl Maxi Single [Vinyl 12'']
Vinyl$4.95 (used)
Graze The UmbraGraze The Umbra
City Slang
Vinyl$115.00 (used)
Twelve Inch (Redeye) 2002
Audio CD$8.99
$0.99 (used)
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SALARYMAN discography

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SALARYMAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
4.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Electric Forest

SALARYMAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SALARYMAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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SALARYMAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Electric Forest by SALARYMAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.00 | 1 ratings

The Electric Forest
Salaryman Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars The third and last album from this instrumental, Illinois-based quartet. Released almost six years after their last album, it sounds like it was recorded at the same time. There seems to be more found sound vocal samples than on the last album but not as much as the debut. The Electric Forest has the best album cover of the three but ultimately it's the weakest album overall. "Obumbrata Et Velata" has some Tortoise-style drumming which gets more chaotic as the piece moves along. "Green Stamp" is probably the best track here. Very upbeat as it grooves along. Nice organ in this song. "Three Hole Punch" is probably the most fast-paced track dominated by distorted bass.

"Ridin' A Wire Fence" has some programmed synths playing vaguely Chinese-style melodies. Nice effects-laden guitar in the middle. "Portwine Road" grooves along with a bassline on synth. The track is dominated by synths but later some guitar shows up. "First Person Shopper" features a post-punk style bassline with some 8-bit sounding synths. "Van Of Angels" has some very jazzy drumming with spacey synths. "eYES" is a moody, drumless piece which may appeal to some Brian Eno and Vangelis fans.

Not as good as the first two but being released in 2005 the music here sounds both behind the times and strangely current. Salaryman created some great electronic-oriented and rhythm heavy post-rock but I guess they could only do so much with the formula they used. One more album may have sounded inferior to this but it still would have been more original and unique sounding compared to the majority of what passed for "post-rock" in the 2000s. All their albums are available for download via their homepage ( I'll give this one a 3.5 but round it down to 3 stars.

 Karoshi by SALARYMAN album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.00 | 1 ratings

Salaryman Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Second album from this American instrumental electronic rock quartet. In a similar style to the debut but more interesting and slightly more adventurous overall. The drumming is better and the keyboard sounds are more diverse. The guitars (especially the bass) are more noticeable and prominent than before. One thing there is less of here is the vocal samples, but they are not totally gone. This is still '90s style rhythm-heavy, electronic-oriented "post-rock" but the music here would be of more interest to proggers in general than the first album.

"Strong Holder" is a great way to open the album, being fast-paced and energenic. There is some nice sustained wailing guitar notes throughout the piece. The track is built around a busy drum pattern and keyboard sounds going back and forth. Great organ soloing here. "The Companion" opens with looped glockenspiel or something similar. The music starts off playful and child-like but then turns into something more dramatic and suspenseful. The main keyboard melody keeps your attention.

"Thomas Jefferson Airplane" is a hard-hitting piece of music with some interesting percussion parts. Love the spacey synth in the middle. After that part it gets stereotypical 'prog' sounding for a moment. "Monterey Days / Malibu Nights" is another hard-hitting track. Sounds like everything except the drums are done on keyboards. Great interplay between those keyboards though. "Dull Normal" is a very (synth)bass heavy track. Love the dub-y echoed snare drum. Great piece of IDM-inspired "post-rock".

"Taco Muerte" has samples of someone talking in Spanish (I know, weird right?). The music is some kind of reggae-waltz until some ethereal keyboards show up, then it becomes some sort of New Age Trip-Hop. More dissonant keys show up later (or is that guitar?). "Craters Of The National Moon" is a very electronic piece that is also equal parts spacey and avant. The title track starts off based around a tribal-like drum pattern and droning synth. It develops into a vaguely Middle-Eastern sounding part as the drumming gets more loose and varied with lots of fills. Dies down at the end.

This would be their last album for a few years before making just one more. All three of their albums have something to offer, but Karoshi is the more consistent and the most 'proggy'. Maybe not all killer but very little filler. A solid 4 stars.

 Salaryman by SALARYMAN album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.00 | 1 ratings

Salaryman Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars I wish these guys were called Celerymen, an even stupider name but it rolls off the tongue better. Anyway, this band was formed by three members of the indie rock band The Poster Children along with a drummer not in that group. Apparently they formed this instrumental offshoot as somewhat of a parody of the music of Tortoise and other bands who were getting the "post-rock" label at the time. Although the song titles and some of the spoken word bits are humourous, the music itself rarely comes off as 'funny'. Instead, it can be downright dark and menacing at times.

This album was recorded in 1996 but released in early 1997. When this was recorded the term "post-rock" meant something very different than what it means these days. It originally applied to groups who were considered too electronic to be just 'rock'. These early bands from the early to mid-90s were influenced by post-punk, Krautrock, dub reggae, IDM and jazz fusion. In the late 90s you had bands like Mogwai, GYBE and Sigur Ros who threw out the dub, IDM and fusion influences and replaced them with influences from shoegaze, Swans and Sonic Youth. This second wave of bands were more popular and influential; Salaryman belongs to the first wave.

At the time most "post-rock" bands came from either London or the American midwest (but even Australia's Dirty Three were an exception). Salaryman were in the same boat as the American bands but they didn't have any fusion influences. Their music was groove oriented and keyboard oriented. They had guitars but a lot of the time you couldn't tell if what you were hearing was done on a guitar or keyboard. On top of that they used samples as well. Vocal samples also. You can hear people talking throughout the album; even though you can clearly understand the words spoken, everything is just random and taken out of context.

"Rather" opens the album based around a fairly cliche drumbeat, yet no other beat would be required. A cliche bassline on top but it's what going on above the rhythm section that make this track. "Inca Picnic" in contrast is both more electronic and uptempo. Overall a more mysterious and eerie vibe as well. "Voids+Superclusters" was the basis of an EP which is now a part of the whole album. A standout track, it doesn't build a crescendo but it does build in intensity. Based around a bass riff (on synth?) and a symphonic keyboard part which comes and goes. The drumming is some of the most busy and complex on the album.

"New Centurions" opens with a very cliche beat (something you would expect from a drum machine). Some sampled horn blasts are repeated in a rhythmic fashion. Like the rest of the album it's what's going on over top of the rhythm section that keeps you're interest. The drumming itself gets more varied and interesting later on. "I Need A Monkey" has a similar dark vibe to "Voids+Superclusters." Some nice organ in this track. "Hummous" features some of the best and more interesting drumming yet everything else is nowhere near as interesting. "Foral Clock" is probably the most electronic track. Some of the vocal samples are repeated to the point of being almost hypnotic. "Tilo" is the most Tortoise sounding track, especially what the bass and drums are doing. "Pull A Tube" is a very electronic track which ends with then President Bill Clinton saying: "...but the government can only do so much."

The next album Karoshi is in a similar style but perhaps even more 'proggy' sounding. If you're expecting anything like Explosions In The Sky or Russian Circles then this album will disappoint you; if you're into what bands like Tortoise and Trans Am were doing in the 1990s, this might be for you. The 1990s was a decade of awful genre names. Besides "post-rock" you had "Intelligent Dance Music," "Nu Metal" and "Trip-Hop." With '90s music you're better to ignore the label and just listen to the music to see(hear) if you like it. Not sure if physical copies exist anymore but all the band's albums are available via Bandcamp (they don't have an actual BC page, everything is on their homepage: I'll give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

Thanks to zravkapt for the artist addition.

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