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Battles - EP C / B CD (album) cover

EP C / B



Post Rock/Math rock

2.59 | 6 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars In 2005 Warp records - blessed be the name - signed a relatively unknown New York band. BATTLES is comprised of former members of important, if obscure, avant-garde and math-rock bands. Almost an anti-supergroup, if you like. The first thing Warp did with their new signing is combine and reissue their two US-only EPs as a 66 minute album.

Those of you familiar with their much-lauded album 'Mirrored' might well take this review as a warning. Their first two EPs, collected here, don't sound much like their later work. Yes, the polyrhythms are in evidence, but there's a lot missing here. First and foremost, the tracks are nowhere near as multi-layered as those on 'Mirrored'. This is a new band of talented musicians trying to find their sound. The chattering guitars are there, as is the splendid drum work, but the music sounds naked. Added to this is the absence of TY BRAXTON's vocals. The net effect is an absence of the whimsical, playful and melodic elements of their 2007 release. C/B EP is cold.

For Warp aficionados, that's fine. Warp has long been at the forefront of experimental electronic music, and this stripped-back sound fits quite comfortably in their stable, albeit most of the artists on their roster don't use analogue instruments. But most people would not describe this as progressive rock. I would: my definition is rather broad, and this is definitely progressive (though not rock). It has to be said, however, that it's not actually very daring. There are twenty artists on the Warp roster making more cutting-edge music than this.

As for the music itself, the seven tracks over four minutes form the heart of the album, and each of them develops nicely. Some are standard DON CABALLERO fare, while others (Fantasy, for example) are typical glitch-beat numbers of the mid-career AUTECHRE variety. But electronica has moved on, and this EP is rather tame.

Highlights: 'B+T', 'HI-LO', 'SZ2' and 'DANCE'. But there's nothing here to touch anything on 'Mirrored'.

russellk | 2/5 |


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