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Posts tagged: experimental

Review - Ultra Gown by Zefs Chasing Cara

Ultra Gown by Zefs Chasing Cara is a fascinating and extremely well executed record that marries a ton of different influences and aesthetics to create something new, unique and exciting within the context of “math-rock”. What is perhaps most striking about the record is the pronounced influence of electronic music and sequenced beats that, while seldom used in the genre, are integrated in an interesting and effective way. 

The record begins with Pink Sweat, a driving and techy introduction that recalls bands like The Bulletproof Tiger or Low-Pass. The song straddles the perfect middle ground between complex and catchy; just mathy enough to appease my desire for technicality, but still extremely melodic and straightforward enough to steadily bob my head to. Joal is another perfectly executed example of this, and it is also the first taste of how the artist integrates electronic beats into the record. The highlight of the song comes at 1:52, when after a brief break, the main motif re-emerges to coalesce with the beats in a jovial way. 

The third track, Archal-Lodge is possibly my favourite song on the release. The song kicks off emanating Battles vibes in the best way possible, before spiralling into a sea of arpeggiations that lead into one of the best breakdowns I’ve ever heard, recalling the finest moments of Stage Kids. When everything drops at 1:44 I cannot resist going completely buck-wild. Hoss Temple is a significant departure from the beginning of the record. Pitch shifted guitars and a steady beat progress into what can only be described as “ambient-trap” that would not be out of place on a Kuedo record. 

Salad brings things back into high gear, showcasing frantic riffs that would not sound out of place on an American Don b-sides release. The artist once again demonstrates his or her adept ability to be simultaneously technical and poppy, concluding the track with a dizzying riff that is extremely catchy. Grader begins with a droney loop that explodes into a stuttery, skippy riff that is easily one of the mathiest moments on the release. In typical Zefs Chasing Cara fashion, the song leads into a driving, melodic, backbeat heavy section before rescinding back into a laid-back, ambient outro. 

Ern, a dark, bass heavy drone track gives the listener a much deserved break before diving into The Real Hut, another track that emanates a serious Battles vibe. This track showcases an array of different instrumentation, including what appear to be synths and voice samples. The middle section is extremely hypnotic and entrancing, led by an off-kilter, jangly riff that repeats until the track dies down. 

Clay Brother is an extremely jovial, positive track that recalls the happy-go-lucky mood of Fang Island. It is the perfect album closer; upbeat, happy, driving and hopeful, and a synthesis of all the elements that made the rest of the album such an interesting and enjoyable listen. 

There are so many reasons to love Ultra Gown. It is catchy, original, complex, adventurous and well-produced. It is pushing the boundaries of math-rock in new and interesting directions, proving that the genre is extremely malleable and defying many of its stereotypes. Highly recommended for any fans of the genre who are looking to engage in a challenging, enjoyable, catchy and rewarding listen.

Words by David Mitchell | Staff Writer | Gulfer

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When the genre Math Rock is discussed, or someone asks “What is this Math Rock stuff? Can you give me some bands to check out?” almost every Math-iphile (word I just made up for math-rocker) will mention one specific band in particular: a band called Piglet. Seldom is Math Rock discussed without mentioning Piglet, a 3-piece group from Chicago, whose existence was very short-lived. The band consisted of members Asher (Guitar), Ezra (Bass), and Matt (Drums). Forming in 2002 and disbanding after their first (and final) release entitled "Lava Land", this EP consisted of 6 tracks that would go on to be, arguably, one of the most iconic musical releases in the genre of Math Rock.

"Lava Land" offers all of the key elements you would expect from a math rock band, but I personally always found Piglet’s sound to have a unique charm about it that many other bands cannot compete with. To me, “Lava Land” has never gotten old. I first heard it many years ago and it still feels fresh today. It continues to impress me with each listen. With beautiful and catchy melodies finger-tapped on guitar and bass in unison along with jazzy and creative drumming, the three members effortlessly create a sound on this EP that feels so organized, cohesive, and just damn good. On each track, no instrument feels as though it is left in the background or overshadowed by the other two. They all stand on their own to bring you awesome instrumental rock that doesn’t even feel instrumental; the instruments all sing in harmony with one another and join together to bring us an amazing 25 minutes of pure technicality and fantastic musicianship. For me, it is truly a timeless classic that almost a decade since its release, has not aged a day.

Piglet is one of those bands who many future math rock bands wanted to be and were heavily influenced by. Even today with many new math rock bands forming, many cite Piglet as an influence. One in particular being the band Weye, naming one of their songs "We Miss You Piglet" as homage to the Chicago power trio. Like the members of Weye, fans far and wide have grieved over Piglet’s short lifespan; especially when the band seemed to be at the top of their game with “Lava Land” being prime evidence of this fact. The reason for their breakup was left unknown to fans and many longed for the band’s members to return to the fictional, mathematical, world of Lava Land to bring us all the new material we were all dreamed of. In 2013, fans rejoiced as the band seemed to become active on Facebook and launched a Kickstarter campaign to re-release “Lava Land” on vinyl along with an early demo tape, and other unreleased material. With the help of their fans, the band surpassed their $5000 dollar goal and released all of the aforementioned material. It was an exciting day for math rock fans everywhere. As I write this, side B of my copy “Lava Land” on vinyl is nearing its end. But what else can we expect from Piglet in the coming years? We have contacted Ezra Zera, the former bassist and sent some interview questions for him.

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TMRB: How was Piglet formed?

E: Generally speaking, Asher and Matt were already playing in a band called Seyarse when I met them. Asher and I went to the same high school and had some shared musical interests, so we set up a time to play and enjoyed working together. The rest is history.

TMRB: Your music has been praised highly for its composition and technicality. What were your musical influences collectively as a group and what drove you all to create such progressive songs together?

E: It’s hard to say definitively. We each listened to such a broad variety of music. As far as the instrumental rock vibe goes, we were definitely listening to Don Cab’s album “American Don”, Hella’s album “Hold Your Horse Is”, and the Bad Plus album “Give”. On the other side of the spectrum, Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” got a lot of play. I don’t think our songs were that progressive… I would say a lack of true compositional understanding and slapping riffs together worked to our advantage. We just wanted to make songs that were fun to play.

TMRB: I know it’s been quite a while, but could you perhaps breakdown your songwriting process of the time and your experiences in recording “Lava Land”?

E: Yeah, it’s been a decade. We recorded riffs for each other and would bring them to the shed a couple days a week for band practice. It was a collaborative venture. Usually one person came up with an idea and the other two would creatively respond to the music in the moment. Over time we would gradually arrive at something that could pass for a song. With lava land, it was more about riffs, but as we developed as a band, specifically with the music that’s now available on the SONGS EP, we started going for a more compositional approach, with recurring motifs and musical themes. As far as interpersonal dynamics go, there was always some creative tension but we got along pretty well overall.

TMRB: A lot of people have discovered the band’s work long after the group disbanded and because of this, many of us fans would constantly ask ourselves “Why on earth did these guys not make more music? And what made them stop?” Even a small math rock band named Weye has a song entitled “We Miss You Piglet”. I’m sure many of our readers would like to know: what led to the group’s breakup?

E: Sorry to disappoint you but the breakup was nothing special. I was barely 20 when we played our last show. We didn’t even really break up, things just kind of drifted apart. If we had a big fan base at the time I don’t think we would have broken up, but the way it seems to me in hindsight, it’s like we were just kids playing in a garage band. The fans we did have were super cool and devoted, but there weren’t many, and after a while there just wasn’t enough of an audience interest to sustain the intense level of devotion required to keep a band like Piglet going.

TMRB: Many argue that Piglet is/was one of the most influential groups in the resurgence of instrumental math rock in recent years. First off, what do you all think of the term “math rock” and do you guys consider Piglet a math rock group? Second, when writing these songs and playing shows, did you ever think that the music you were creating would create such great of an impact on the math rock/experimental music scene?

E: I would say the “math rock” label is just as valid or invalid as any other music genre, but it’s not really important to us. We definitely fit in to what people are referring to when they use that phrase, and the expression was already in circulation while we were a band, but I don’t think we ever explicitly called ourselves a math rock band. The expression “Chicago instrumental band” was more common for us. To answer the second question, no, we became more popular after we broke up so we definitely didn’t foresee any kind of lasting impression on the community at large. 

TMRB: With the band not having any activity after the breakup, what led to the sudden re-emergence of the band ‘s presence, particularly online with the Facebook page, and then the Kickstarter campaign that launched very recently to press “Lava Land” on vinyl along with demo recordings and previously unreleased material being sold on CD along with other goodies?

E: After a few years of steady email feedback from fans, we noticed there were many requests for lava land on vinyl. We were curious whether there was enough demand to fund the pressing of the album, and sure enough there was, so we just went for it. Records have been flying off the shelves so fast we can hardly keep up with the packaging and shipping process. We’re having to do it in 45 batch instalments to avoid getting overwhelmed. It’s been a lot of work but I’m happy we followed through with it. 

TMRB: This may be a stretch, but after many your fans have obsessively watching those few live videos of the band, is there any chance of a reunion? Would you guys ever see that being a possibility?

E: Anything’s possible.

TMRB: Finally, what are you all up to musically these days?

E: We all still play music but none of us are in a touring band right now. I’ve been developing something called the Tone Color Alchemy project for the past six years. It’s a pretty far out experiment in musical cryptography. I’ve just finished writing a full length book that’s due for release on the Sync Book Press sometime this spring. I have also written a lot of singer-songwriter bedroom tracks that are floating around on the internet somewhere, but nothing that I would feel compelled to promote. Thanks for your interest.

Be sure to visit www.piglet.bandcamp.com to stream and purchase Piglet’s entire discography as well as purchase posters as well as “Lava Land” on vinyl (when available).

Also visit www.facebook.com/pigletchicago for more info.

Interview and Retrospective Article by Gary | Co-Founder

PIGLET: RETURN TO LAVA LAND

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Live Review - El Ten Eleven - 28/2/2014, Oakland CA

When you click the “About” tab on El Ten Eleven’s website, you’ll see the opening sentence is a quote from guitar and bass virtuoso, Kristian Dunn, which reads, “I really hope people don’t say that we are a math rock band!”
Dunn describes the math rock and prog rock genre being filled with musicians trying to show off for other musicians. Dunn, being half of the two-piece band, may be too quick to judge the genre. He is a skilled musician that plays with a doubleneck bass and guitar combo, and plays both parts simultaneously through tapping and the ability to jump between both necks with ease.
Despite the band dismissing the math rock name, (or any genre besides “power-duo”) they still deliver a flurry of unpredictability and odd time signatures that would make any math rock fan giddy.  
I recently watched the Los Angeles based band perform in The New Parish located in Oakland, Calif. and I must say that they brought an endless barrage of sonic sounds, memorable grooves, and accurate pedal loops, mixed and harmonious with tight drumming from Tim Fogarty.
The most memorable song of the night was “Transitions”— a 10-minute track with a tapped bass intro that gets layered with more tapping on the guitar neck. Interestingly, Dunn implements an Ebow to the mix—commonly seen in post rock bands, which adds a fuzzy bass layer to an already thick and booming bass and guitar loop.
The duo ended the show with their most recognizable song, “My Only Swerving,” which was the highlight. Although they had to start the song over a few times, it didn’t take away the earthy ambiance that song delivers to the audience. The song has an intense blend of different sounds with a tight bass line with whammy sounds, fuzz, and tremolo all mixed in.
There is a difference between El Ten Eleven shows and a dizzying “traditional math rock band.” The duo has people dancing and has the ability to engage the audience. They do not alienate the crowd with flash and complex transitions that leave a standing audience struggling to follow rhythm. Dunn and Fogarty have successfully bridged the gap between catchiness and complexity and blend both worlds nicely. 
Complexity for the sake of being complex isn’t something that they target specifically. But they do have enough complexity to draw the attention of casual listeners and enthusiasts alike.
El Ten Eleven have a few shows left on their tour. You can check out the remaining dates here. Be sure to check them out before their tour ends.
Words & Photographs by Jason Enriquez | Staff Writer | Photographer 
Live Review - El Ten Eleven - 28/2/2014, Oakland CA

When you click the “About” tab on El Ten Eleven’s website, you’ll see the opening sentence is a quote from guitar and bass virtuoso, Kristian Dunn, which reads, “I really hope people don’t say that we are a math rock band!”
Dunn describes the math rock and prog rock genre being filled with musicians trying to show off for other musicians. Dunn, being half of the two-piece band, may be too quick to judge the genre. He is a skilled musician that plays with a doubleneck bass and guitar combo, and plays both parts simultaneously through tapping and the ability to jump between both necks with ease.
Despite the band dismissing the math rock name, (or any genre besides “power-duo”) they still deliver a flurry of unpredictability and odd time signatures that would make any math rock fan giddy.  
I recently watched the Los Angeles based band perform in The New Parish located in Oakland, Calif. and I must say that they brought an endless barrage of sonic sounds, memorable grooves, and accurate pedal loops, mixed and harmonious with tight drumming from Tim Fogarty.
The most memorable song of the night was “Transitions”— a 10-minute track with a tapped bass intro that gets layered with more tapping on the guitar neck. Interestingly, Dunn implements an Ebow to the mix—commonly seen in post rock bands, which adds a fuzzy bass layer to an already thick and booming bass and guitar loop.
The duo ended the show with their most recognizable song, “My Only Swerving,” which was the highlight. Although they had to start the song over a few times, it didn’t take away the earthy ambiance that song delivers to the audience. The song has an intense blend of different sounds with a tight bass line with whammy sounds, fuzz, and tremolo all mixed in.
There is a difference between El Ten Eleven shows and a dizzying “traditional math rock band.” The duo has people dancing and has the ability to engage the audience. They do not alienate the crowd with flash and complex transitions that leave a standing audience struggling to follow rhythm. Dunn and Fogarty have successfully bridged the gap between catchiness and complexity and blend both worlds nicely. 
Complexity for the sake of being complex isn’t something that they target specifically. But they do have enough complexity to draw the attention of casual listeners and enthusiasts alike.
El Ten Eleven have a few shows left on their tour. You can check out the remaining dates here. Be sure to check them out before their tour ends.
Words & Photographs by Jason Enriquez | Staff Writer | Photographer 
Live Review - El Ten Eleven - 28/2/2014, Oakland CA

When you click the “About” tab on El Ten Eleven’s website, you’ll see the opening sentence is a quote from guitar and bass virtuoso, Kristian Dunn, which reads, “I really hope people don’t say that we are a math rock band!”
Dunn describes the math rock and prog rock genre being filled with musicians trying to show off for other musicians. Dunn, being half of the two-piece band, may be too quick to judge the genre. He is a skilled musician that plays with a doubleneck bass and guitar combo, and plays both parts simultaneously through tapping and the ability to jump between both necks with ease.
Despite the band dismissing the math rock name, (or any genre besides “power-duo”) they still deliver a flurry of unpredictability and odd time signatures that would make any math rock fan giddy.  
I recently watched the Los Angeles based band perform in The New Parish located in Oakland, Calif. and I must say that they brought an endless barrage of sonic sounds, memorable grooves, and accurate pedal loops, mixed and harmonious with tight drumming from Tim Fogarty.
The most memorable song of the night was “Transitions”— a 10-minute track with a tapped bass intro that gets layered with more tapping on the guitar neck. Interestingly, Dunn implements an Ebow to the mix—commonly seen in post rock bands, which adds a fuzzy bass layer to an already thick and booming bass and guitar loop.
The duo ended the show with their most recognizable song, “My Only Swerving,” which was the highlight. Although they had to start the song over a few times, it didn’t take away the earthy ambiance that song delivers to the audience. The song has an intense blend of different sounds with a tight bass line with whammy sounds, fuzz, and tremolo all mixed in.
There is a difference between El Ten Eleven shows and a dizzying “traditional math rock band.” The duo has people dancing and has the ability to engage the audience. They do not alienate the crowd with flash and complex transitions that leave a standing audience struggling to follow rhythm. Dunn and Fogarty have successfully bridged the gap between catchiness and complexity and blend both worlds nicely. 
Complexity for the sake of being complex isn’t something that they target specifically. But they do have enough complexity to draw the attention of casual listeners and enthusiasts alike.
El Ten Eleven have a few shows left on their tour. You can check out the remaining dates here. Be sure to check them out before their tour ends.
Words & Photographs by Jason Enriquez | Staff Writer | Photographer

Live Review - El Ten Eleven - 28/2/2014, Oakland CA

When you click the “About” tab on El Ten Eleven’s website, you’ll see the opening sentence is a quote from guitar and bass virtuoso, Kristian Dunn, which reads, “I really hope people don’t say that we are a math rock band!”

Dunn describes the math rock and prog rock genre being filled with musicians trying to show off for other musicians. Dunn, being half of the two-piece band, may be too quick to judge the genre. He is a skilled musician that plays with a doubleneck bass and guitar combo, and plays both parts simultaneously through tapping and the ability to jump between both necks with ease.

Despite the band dismissing the math rock name, (or any genre besides “power-duo”) they still deliver a flurry of unpredictability and odd time signatures that would make any math rock fan giddy.  

I recently watched the Los Angeles based band perform in The New Parish located in Oakland, Calif. and I must say that they brought an endless barrage of sonic sounds, memorable grooves, and accurate pedal loops, mixed and harmonious with tight drumming from Tim Fogarty.

The most memorable song of the night was “Transitions”— a 10-minute track with a tapped bass intro that gets layered with more tapping on the guitar neck. Interestingly, Dunn implements an Ebow to the mix—commonly seen in post rock bands, which adds a fuzzy bass layer to an already thick and booming bass and guitar loop.

The duo ended the show with their most recognizable song, “My Only Swerving,” which was the highlight. Although they had to start the song over a few times, it didn’t take away the earthy ambiance that song delivers to the audience. The song has an intense blend of different sounds with a tight bass line with whammy sounds, fuzz, and tremolo all mixed in.

There is a difference between El Ten Eleven shows and a dizzying “traditional math rock band.” The duo has people dancing and has the ability to engage the audience. They do not alienate the crowd with flash and complex transitions that leave a standing audience struggling to follow rhythm. Dunn and Fogarty have successfully bridged the gap between catchiness and complexity and blend both worlds nicely.

Complexity for the sake of being complex isn’t something that they target specifically. But they do have enough complexity to draw the attention of casual listeners and enthusiasts alike.

El Ten Eleven have a few shows left on their tour. You can check out the remaining dates here. Be sure to check them out before their tour ends.

Words & Photographs by Jason Enriquez | Staff Writer | Photographer

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Review - Hannibal Montana - 28-20 EP

Cannibalistic tween-pop star puns aside (I’m sure they’ve heard it all by now), Hannibal Montana’s third release, an EP following on the tails of two full length efforts, is this New York mathy post-rock trio’s most mature collection to date. 28-20 finds the group taking their genre-bending instrumental style to a new level and stands to distinguish them from their peers. What makes this quite possibly HM’s greatest show of force thus far is that the listener is made acutely aware of these seriously good musicians’ ability to make seriously good music, without being so damn serious about it. If you love post-rock but could drop the melodrama, math rock that does more than Tasmanian-devil-spin its way through pull-off riffs, and if you don’t mind the absence of a vocalist where one isn’t necessarily needed, then your 2014 is off to a good start with 28-20. Because whether it is grinning or snarling, this EP has teeth.

No time is wasted in proving as much as the band launches headlong into their first track, which features a distinctly math rock guitar phrase which is refrained and referenced throughout the song’s progression. What really pulls this song across its substantial landscape is the jazz inflected bass, which in these and other quiet moments of repetition takes the helm and changes course with impressive subtlety and fluidity. The guitar becomes more engaged as the tune takes on a danceable beat which HM have been known to showcase without the usual traces of frivolity – Though this proves to be simply preamble for the entrance of an overdriven roar, which confirms comparisons to early Tera Melos and even hints at an affinity for the metallic. The wailing guitar in this moment acts as a vocalist might, generating a sense of desperation and upping the emotional ante. Its refrain and the following buildup are of precise character, like a robot both breaking down and discovering new uses for its fallen parts.

From this aptly placed first track we are told much about what is in store for the remainder of the nineteen-odd minute long jaunt. It may be, as the band claims, a playful record, but is simultaneously a deceptively aggressive venture. Unlike many bands which these opening phrases call to mind, HM is not satisfied with repetition and patchwork patterning alone, but instead show an ability for extended variation, punctuated by the song’s coda, one which characteristically blends a tight and rhythmically challenging progression - one of my favorite bass melodies on the record - with a droning, atmospheric guitar that does not infringe upon or threaten to dampen its value. This moment is telling, granting us an understanding of the band’s position - They could in fact continue on, allow the tune to stretch out further and explore its variations farther, but there is a victory in disallowing that potential pleasure, as that way lies equal potential for tedium.

The second track introduces us to the ebb-and-flow structure of this album. Each lengthy tune is separated from the next with a shorter track. This is a technique that has proven effective for many bands in and outside of HM’s tangential genres. Albums like Deafheaven’s Sunbather have proven this method to be effective for a larger audience, allowing listeners perhaps less in it for the time signature changes and impressive finger work the chance to breathe, and most importantly to reflect. Its as if “A Lie I Used to Tell”positions us on a high crest, and from that vantage we regard the landscape that has just been rather hastily covered, in case that during our hurried progression through it we had neglected to let it affect us while in its immediate presence. This track however is something more than a bridge from song to song, and is marked by a gentle menace of a melody, disassociated from a desperate rhythm left just outside the door.

But the door does open, and in comes careening the album’s centerpiece, “Tales From The Cryptic.” This song contains some of the most impressive moments and lofty ideas HM puts foreword, but is also made problematic by its rather incidental movement from one idea to the next. Most curious is a quasi-reggae section, situated between one of the band’s most all out driving sections and one of its most ethereal and weightless. Still, the lack of a narrative flow - which is well showcased in some other tunes - does stand to underline the band’s contempt for unneeded complacency, something that is ultimately a virtue. The back half of this track is made up of a large section defined by sonorous, pinging guitars that are as satellites in a swampy belt of space, looping through the thickly starlit blackness. The group does return in force for an energetic refrain of the song’s muscular opening, keeping the murky yet luminous middle section contained within higher walls of meaning.

“X” is the antithesis of the first short track, and begins with a all out hard rock riff, played with a tone that would not be out of place on an early QOTSA record, of all places. But HM wastes no time breaking that riff apart after merely one iteration, slashing at what might have been a song of its own until the shreds become the true form.

Keeping in line with the cyclical nature of the EP, “12 Syllables” opens just as dreamy as you like before the group introduces its most patient and toe-tapping repetition yet. The well-wrought mixture of emotive tonality with a lighthearted execution makes this final track the easiest to latch onto and enjoy. You may - like me - bemoan the brevity of this tack, but as a result may - like me - find yourself hard pressed not to go back and listen all the way through, if only to allow this last to color the rest as it has been colored in turn. In this way, 28-20 compliments itself, and what at first perhaps seemed disconnected turns enticing, as the parts prove themselves vital the whole.

The portions of this EP that really shine are those in which HM finds itself with all six feet planted firmly on the ground. Their astral ventures are pleasant, but are as leaps taken on a distant sphere – they may feel like flying, but are always accompanied by the anticipation of touchdown - that moment of attaining a grasp of real purpose as to the meaning of the voyage, and with the most capable Hannibal Montana yet in the driver’s seat, this is surely one worth taking.

________________

Words by Nick Otte | Staff Writer

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Review - Hollow Ran live sessions for TriRilla Sessions

As hostile and predictable as a force of nature, two piece Hollow Ran from Orange County, California unleashes a fusillade of melodies, tempos, and time signatures that are quick to change and difficult to internalize toward those who tune in for their Tririlla Sessions. The tone and overall feel of the pieces have a very wide range and know exactly when to bark and when to be as reserved and lucid as a song bird. Technically speaking, the members of this duo are profoundly talented, and by drawing from a unique synergy and compositional style reminiscent to that early Hella, but with an added ear for texture similar to that of early Tera Melos, Hollow Ran stole my heart.

The Hollow Ran Tririlla Sessions are comprised of three tracks, ‘From’, ‘Into’, and ‘Through’, and while these pieces are vastly different, within each reside common traits, approaches, and idiosyncrasies that helped identify central characteristics of the band in its current form. The guitar lines are dense with delays, loops, beat repeats, and classic whammy pitch-shifting, yet never detract from the compositional format nor muffle the tone of the masterfully executed extended techniques—most notably the tapping passages. Meanwhile, the percussion remains sporadic and vital throughout while balancing the duty of marking time in rapidly changing complex meters and management of the overall cohesion, groove, and flow of the pieces.

Recently added to Mother Turf’s greatly credible roster, Hollow Ran is to be further investigated and followed closely if you love large explosive payloads, prepositions, and asymmetric timing.

______________________

Words by Anthony Brocatto | Staff Writer

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Review - They Will Come Back For You… by Kusanagi

"Album opener ‘Spires’ forelays the progressively mathy twang that comes to define this album as it negotiates a palatable mix of time signatures before it settles into an instrumental rasp. Just when you’re comfortable, it breaks suddenly into a cleaner, distinctly math-rock, frenzy that sounds like an uninhibited Antitode - era Foals. Lucid periods of droney guitar - punctuated neatly by a fixed ¾ motif - are backed by purposeful drum and bass stabs that work their way toward a heavy ending section that mirrors the beginning in a satisfyingly cyclic manner.

The precisely manufactured delay at the start of track 2 ‘What fools these mortals’, provides a brief rest before the clout reforms into thick bass and a cymbal-wash that ushers the unrelenting guitar riff to ascend with a hypnotic persistence. To finish, a distorted atonal mess bleeds into the time-twisting venture that is ‘Rhinoceros’. This album begins to take on a direction that is both refreshing musically, and indicative of the Liverpool 4 piece’s enviable grasp of genre-traversing dynamics.

As with all of the tracks on this album, this song always seems to be heading somewhere big, however equally characteristic is the way that the build-up is tauntingly prolonged until a section of unexpected calm ensues. Light cymbals path the route for incredibly strong chord progressions that are joined swiftly by an overarching melodic warmth; a tonal quality that I personally believe is this album at its best. A brief section of pinpoint tapping marks the desire line back to an almost- mathcore ending. This amalgamation of different sections is thematic of the entire album which generally feels like a collection of loosely connected ideas that somehow work as a whole, forming an infectious structural dystopia that forever leaves you guessing. This kind of unpredictability is reminiscent of Wot Gorilla?, who – with their own unique way of matching the ethereal with the raucous - are not so dissimilar in their overall feel.

By far the best track for me takes form in the tropical-pop-esque ‘Danxia’ that begins with a rolling drum intro joined by a precise, punchy guitar riff. When this theme becomes accentuated by a bass that meanders between octaves with purpose, the jazz influenced track takes on a new breathe of lung-friendly air, (think of a relaxed Suffer Like G Did without quite as much time-signature play). The interaction of the two guitars are tantamount in both virtuosity and impact as they amble slowly towards a distinctly post-rock ending section that builds with climactic intent, warranting the total time of 7+ minutes.

The penultimate track ‘One day they will come back for you’ cites a familiar chord progression packaged with driving and expansive drums and dense, sweetly reverb-laden guitars who’s composite is a frenetic energy that somehow maintains control. An always-welcome bass solo-part shifts to a spacey section of interwoven drum and bass thuds and phrases that are incredibly well written and enforced.

The album releases the accumulated tension in 2 minute closer ‘They will come back to you…’, as the unexpected dimension of a half-glitchy drum track provides the backdrop for some ambient synths to post-rock their way to the end of a thoroughly satisfying album. The ellipsis in the track title is a fitting way to underpin the sense of anticipation that amounts, as ever-differing, ever-unforeseeable sections are worked around with a unifying proficiency.”

Kusanagi Facebook | Bandcamp

Words by Jonny

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Settimio is an Italian math rock and jazz guitarist who’s trying to share opinions and music with other math rockers through his new project known as the “Paper Whale Project”. 

Spend some time exploring his Youtube channel or see what he has to say over on Facebook!

Math rock is not so spread in Italy and that’s why I feel worn out when I try to share something new as my math rock songs.

I joined your blog and youtube channel and I’m sure you know how to help me sharing my music interest and together make Italy rocker!”

If you want to get in touch with Settimio then his email address is:

paperwhaleproject@gmail.com

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