Archive for the 'Battles' Category

Battles – Mirrored

To wrap up math rock I give you the best of the best: Battles.  They’ve been around since something like 2004, with their first full length in 2007, and have been suspiciously (and frustratingly) silent since 2008.  Like, no tours, no announcements, no nothing.  Usually any group that pulled that kind of stunt would fall off the face of the planet and get dropped, but Battles is no ordinary band.

Frontman and composer Tyondai Braxton is the son of composer Anthony Braxton, and avant-garde is something that runs in the family.  Battles songs are composed layer by layer, piece by piece and do NOT sound like anything you have heard before.  Guitars are used sparingly, focusing instead on a heavy application of loops, samples, and an eclectic array of bleeps and bloops, as well as Tyondai’s several-octaves-shifted vocals, which are essentially atmoshperic gibberish.  All of this is held down by one of my favorite drummers, Helmet’s John Stanier.  The man is absolutely robotic and a beast on his kit, which is minimalistic and known for it’s mile high crash cymbal.  Battles is a textbook example of the first “flavor” of math rock.  The time signature during the build up of the sprawling epic “Rainbows” is measured in 19/8…whatever that may mean to you.

As a whole, Mirrored is dark; it’s a real soundtrack for spelunking.  That said it is far from sparse, and happens to have some of the heaviest locked-in grooves I can think of.  It is a journey that ends where it began, coming full circle with a conclusion (aptly titled Race: Out) that leaves the album pleading for subsequent listens. You’ve heard them in commercials. Now hear them for real.


Atlas Music Video (way cool)


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