Following the success of their 2020 full-length album Remnants, Portland-based post-rock group The Mighty Missoula add to their discography a collection of five new tracks, in their fresh EP Virga. The American group are known particularly for their association of their music to characteristically natural elements that we observe around us, and present to us the symphonic vibrations in invisible soundscapes that put us in the cascades of the natural salvation. The EP is a journey of twenty-seven minutes, divided into six tracks as episodic chapters in the journey, where each parking is an atmospheric presence of pure ambience and isolated auditory incubation, which make them stand out from each other.
Each track in the EP is appropriately named after the various types of clouds that we see above us — Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus, Nimbus and Cirro.
Cirrus begins with an overflowing synth wave that drenches the track from its start, where the electric guitar almost narrates the musical freshet that is to unfold. The track is an auditorily simulated ascendance from the ordinary state of being to higher up nearer cirrus clouds in the sky, where we almost realize the insignificance of the human condition. Cirrus is a prelude track that prepares the listener for the rest of the journey that The Mighty Missoula are to take us in the tracks that follow. Stratus borrows the momentum from its previous track and makes the mood almost dystopic. The track features very compressed and mellow percussive elements that appear for the first time in the EP, which acts as the backbone for the strings and synth waves to wash over the channels. Fans of post-rock acts such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Bark Psychosis will find themselves particularly more drawn towards the track’s outro, which switches to the minor key in an empyrean undertone. Stratus re-establishes the ability of the post-rock genre to truly represent or even simulate emotions similar to an ego-death.
Cumulus fades in faintly like a faint gust of wind that we are receptive to and flirts with the ambient stereo slithering of the electric guitar-synth wave combination. The track represents a sense of finality in and of itself — like the gradual denouement or decadence of something — but portrays it as an equational arrangement of nature that is inevitable and existential. Representative of the natural menacing appearance of its namesake, Nimbus is truly Eden-like. Featuring the sound of heavy downpour, the track develops across its eight minutes, like the creation of a fuller entity before our eyes that morphs more into itself with each note of the electric guitar and the sonic fractions surrounding it in the form of percussion and ambience. The track also features very faint conversational elements, albeit too distorted and fractured to make coherence. Many post-rock fundamental elements can be found in the track and are almost a tribute to earlier mavericks in the scene such as F♯ A♯ ∞.
Cirro brings back the pristine and tranquillity that the clouds sharing its name bring, promising the collapse of a petrifying experience. A perfect and adequate closer for the EP, the track leaves Missoula fans wanting a continuation of this twenty-seven-minute experience.