Is There Anyone Else Outside? is the grand and beautiful creation of just two men. Operating under the names of Aughra and Mosh Patrol, respectively, Brent Eyestone and Christopher King have crafted an ambient experience that will make fans of the genre salivate with every passing minute.
And let's be clear here; this isn't for everyone. This isn't for the casual music passer-by. It's not something you throw on before you go out, or something you listen to at the gym, this isn't even so much an album that you listen to as an album you take in.
An album like this is about setting, it's about a relaxing atmosphere and paying such close attention to all the subtle nuances, that you feel you understand the record just as well as the two men who made it. It's that kind of an experience, and one that does not come around all too often.
The first four tracks belong to Aughra, and Brent Eyestone has meticulously made sure to get the most out of them. From meandering soundscapes to the most delicate piano keystroke, the beauty is not in individual actions or individual instances, but the atmosphere created when all those instances are strung together. It may take a few spins, but the more intently you listen, the more you'll be liable to take from the experience. Each new listen to a track is another opportunity to draw a vision in your head, as "Dog Years" gorgeously illustrates. The slow-moving piano intro evokes images of Paul Newman and Tom Hanks playing the piano together in the beginning of "Road to Perdition." That incredibly moving scene is one I'll never forget, and "Dog Years" brings that right to the forefront. I can see each individual key being pressed by Michael Sullivan and John Rooney. A slow, and calculated drum beat soon comes in to mesh with the piano, and the transition is effortless. That same feeling of effortless transition also applies to the move from Aughra to Mosh Patrol.
Most people would never even notice the difference.
Mosh Patrol injects a little bit more of an electronic side to the combination of xylophone, music box, Rhodes piano, and electric guitar, while maintaining the same feel of beauty and grandeur established by Aughra. Mixing the best of Telefon Tel Aviv with the more reserved side of most post-rock bands, Mosh Patrol maximize the atmosphere with what little means are used. The instrumentation is minimal, but striking. "The More Things Change, The More Things Stay the Same" succeeds because of moderation; the use of electric guitar is so bare it almost ceases to exist. The string plucking is done in such a fashion that the tones resonate long after they're actually played, resulting in a hauntingly bare five minutes that will leave you feeling its effects for some time to come.
It's hard to articulate what makes an album with so little "music" so special. Many would listen and contend that it's just background music that would help them go to sleep -- and that's fine. Those are the musical passers-by that well never let themselves sit down and truly appreciate what can be done from such minimal means. I feel badly for those people; I feel badly for anyone who will never hear true beauty.