I think it's an amazing time for music. And despite the constant piggy backing, it's an amazing time for music designed to be paired with motion picture. EMD, hip-hop, plain beats, ukulele, oohs, ahs, subgenera - it's all fantastic. But, for my money, the clap that triggered the avalanche of excellence was the instantaneous-mood-creating post-rock tunes that emerged with the new millennium. Post Rock is essentially music that uses typical rock instruments (electric guitars, trap drum kits, synth keyboards, etc) in a manner that defies typical rock expectations. Normally that rebellion takes the form of crystal clean tones over distortion, ambience over melody, percussive accents over grooves and expanse over pith. This is not music that you can dance to. But it is music you can fly to. And not, like, on an airplane. Like, just lift your arms, close your eyes and take off like a semi-sad-over-reflective-super-man fly. It can be beautiful stuff.
You actually know it, even if you don't know you know it. The most famous example is the Explosions in Sky song that carries the opening credits of NBC's teen soap masterpiece and ode to small town life, Friday Night Lights. (Yes, the film version of the Dillon Panthers saga uses the same vibe, and the same band.) The popularity of that show propelled the genre into every crevice of entertainment and advertisement and once you're aware of it, you can't not hear it every time you turn on the inter-webs. It makes the most mundane activities (and camera work) feel awe-inspiring. So, yeah, by now the genre is tres 2012. And, at times, it can be so pretentious that you could put a bird on it. But it's contribution to the modern esthetic is unmistakable, and to my mind, largely beneficial. In a time of fairly constant war and upheaval, post-rock has brought an element of delay to a world that is often too direct - slow build when there is too much bombast. It reminds us to relish the moments. They don't last long. Even if the songs do.