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Post Rock/Math rock

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Robot Party Music

Battles is a band that takes math rock to the extremes. When I listen to math rock I hear bands that try to eliminate the human factor in their music making it sound mechanical and cold (in a good way though). The only band that I can say that achieved that perfectly is Battles. The music sounds so precise that it sounds like it was made by computers! In many ways this reminds me of minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass with their errorless and tight compositions, but this is a rock band, better yet, this is a Math Rock band, and believe me when I tell you that you haven't heard anything like this before.

Yes, Battle's music sounds inhuman (void of any emotions or errors), but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy it, its quite the opposite. One of the interesting things about the band's music is their machinelike playing and the fact that there are actually people playing it. The other thing is their knack of melody and playfulness which many Math Rock bands tend to ignore. Many people avoid the genre because of the lack of melody making the music hard to digest (not to mention their complex song-structures these bands have). On the other hand, Battles is an accessible band that haves a lot of catchy and playful melodies that will stay glued to your head for weeks. Atlas is a perfect example of what I'm trying to say. This song is the "single" of the album and it was a hit for fans of experimental music as well as mainstream listeners. So their formula of "catchy enough to dance to it" plus "complex enough to keep you interested" had great results and the band has a big cult following thanks to it.

As previously said, Battle's music is very motorik in nature. The drummer always has a steady and enticing beat while the rest of the band create the music around it. The rhythm section can't be completed without Dave Konopa on bass and guitar keeping a tight melody on either both instruments and even layering different melodies at the same time with his guitar effects. Ex-Don Caballero guitarist Ian Williams does the same thing, but also uses keyboards when not playing the guitar or if the music demands it he can even play the guitar and keyboard at the same time! Tyondai Braxton does the same as Ian, but also sings (and whistles). All of the members are an integral part of the band and without the sound of one of them the music won't be as full or even as good as it is now.

Accessible, complex, unique, enjoyable and new. Battle's style of prog rock is something that has never been seen before taking the ugly, hard and rough edges of the genre and shaping them into an appealing and captivating sound that can easily be enjoyed by all music fans alike. They're one of the new bands that are showing prog rock to the masses while branching out and making new sounds at the same time. Easily one of the best albums of the year and it can be clearly seen reading reviews and listening to the high remarks the band has got ever since the release of the album in May.

Don't miss one of the newly acclaimed and innovative bands of the year!

Report this review (#150990)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Everyone is familiar with rock in the normal sense of the word; using guitars, bass, drums, etc and coming up with a rock song. However, music can be much more versatile and creative than that. Battles has risen to the forefront of the math rock scene with this debut album. The band uses the typical rock instruments, but incorporates more diverse elements, such as polyrhythms, in to their music. A lot of sonic experimentation is found on this record. One instrument that stand out here are the drums (which rarely get the credit it deserves). Most people would consider this album vastly instrumental, but actually a lot of the "noise" is overly processed vocals, something particularly noteworthy on this disc. Standout tracks include energetic opener "Race:In" and the experimental groove of "Leyendecker." This debut album is highly impressive. This particular brand of processed beats and sonic fury is without question some of the most interesting music available. It's generally high energy and genuinely fun to listen to with swirling melodies surrounding its experimental core. If you want something creative, but still accessible by rock boundaries, this album is highly recommended. One of the best surprises of 2007 that is sure to be enjoyed by fans of experimental/post-rock as well as some jazzier or more electronic counterparts. This intriguing and experimental album would make a good addition to a progressive rock collection due to its genre-bending melodic glitches that shimmer over superb musicianship.
Report this review (#151235)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars BATTLES play up-lifting "happy" music, which some regard as "Dance Prog". Very true, judging from their sound! They mix altogether Math-Rock, Avant-Rock, Electronica, Prog-Rock and the result is breath-taking. This is a case when I'd rather say "chack their videos on PA and their music on MySpace!" instead of finding analogues to their stuff. The first one I can think of is TUNA LAGUNA, but BATTLES are far more uneven and unconventional (which is good and bad at the same time). To be short, take 80s KING CRIMSON and make them being influenced with today's music instead of 80s crap :)

I usually begin my reviews with "preambula" like this one, than get down to music, noting the related bands, with few words about album's important details and then I finish with recommendations or some kind of "fabula". BATTLES are unique, so I made my review somewhat unusual too. I begin with main part, than presented you an intro. Now it's time for conclusion.

I'd happily give them 5 stars, even though I'd feel myself forced and under some kind of pressure. But I disliked some moments there (some bits are too long, dragging on without any slight sign of progression or evolution, etc), so it should be 4 stars. Nope again. I've made an experiment latest month, giving this album to my fellow Proggers, from beardy fanatics who despise any note played after 1979 to freaky kids who adore anything from 21th century that sounds unusual and avant. I recieved TOO POLAR RESPONSES to state that this album can be recommended to "any prog music collector". Besides my own enjoyment lasted not much long, and I've become sober enough to see some major flaws in BATTLES that maybe can be seen only by ME, because this is MY REVIEW and MY OPNION. Hope I made myself clear))) Recommended nevertheless - I'll take a risk on my shoulders!

Report this review (#154462)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had decided not to make an album review unless I had really put a serious effort into writing it. But Battles' "Mirrored" calls for an immediate reaction to alert every listener of prog rock to get a hold of this new masterpiece of progressive music. Not since Wetton- period King Crimson has music touched me this much. The Mars Volta is another band that springs to mind when listening to "Mirrored". I truly regard this as one of the best prog rock albums of all time. Simply fantastic!
Report this review (#154734)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I completely agree with earlyprog. Not all reviews need to consist of several paragraphs and a detailed elaboration on it's quirks, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

This is an album introduced to me through a colleague at work, and, I must say, WOW! I was totally alien to this brand of Math Rock, even Math Rock itself. After hearing this, I'm totally convinced my journey through the genre has only begun.

Anyways, as stated by another reviewer, everyone needs to be alerted of the existence of this album, so that they too can give such a masterpiece a shot. I'll save the monumental review for something else. GET IT!!!

Report this review (#154739)
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album, and in particular the single 'Atlas', have been hugely hyped by the elite music press in the UK, and the electronic press in particular. Is it worthy of the hype? Well, two yesses and a no.

First, the yes. With this album BATTLES makes math-rock accessible to the ordinary punter. It doesn't take a huge intellect to tap your feet, and you're forced to tap not only your feet but any available appendage at the irrepressible music on this album. Can't say I've ever been tempted to dance to math-rock before. Rather than being yet another serious, inaccessible, cold tome, this album is out and out fun. 'Race:In' is aptly named. A frenetic picked guitar and percussion base is overlaid by cheerful whistles and vocal scales. Great rhythms, great tunes, all in the opener, which is clearly an intro. They have left their rather staid early work behind. This is an assault on our pleasure centres.

Second, the emphatic yes. 'Atlas' is one of the great compositions of modern music. Take a glam rock beat - could have been lifted from T-REX or THE GLITTER BAND - add chipping guitar, subtle keyboard effects and the weirdest avant-garde vocals, and you have a minestrone of flavours, influences and ideas all complementing each other perfectly. Tellingly, it has been described by reviewers as the best dance track of the last decade, and I'd have to concur.

But did you get that? Dance track. All that rhythm and fun, and it's no longer high-brow prog. Instead it's fodder for the club scene, for lowbrow ravers. That'll bother some of you, but I don't care. Take your categorisation and throw it away. This is simply great music. The track is structured as a dance track: three minutes of all-out dance, then a cool-down midsection (the breakdown) and a resurgence at the end. Closer to OAKENFOLD than GENTLE GIANT.

Third, the no. The album is uneven. 'Tonto' is the equal of 'Atlas', though it's much more a progressive track in the traditional sense: a slow build to a climax at the 3:30 mark, then an equally slow slow-down and fade out. 'Tij' is also spectacular, though less so, and has more elements of the AUTECHRE-like end of the electronic music scene. Other tracks are interesting, even startling: 'Ddiamondd', for example, is a matched rhythm and vocal track that, like others on this album, is little more than a fragment. Unfortunately, the album is a bit like a microwave cake, all soft and undercooked in the centre. 'Rainbow' and 'Bad Trails' are both more experimental, and both give the sense that the band threw a few ideas together. Neither track has much compositional integrity, though both are interesting to listen to.

So, not a masterpiece, though I bet BATTLES make one - but only one - before they get bored and try something else. No a masterpiece, but a wonderful album nonetheless. Go on, tap that foot. Wiggle those toes, at least.

Report this review (#154961)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Battles's gesture is, right now, right here, and right in this sort of way, a terrific, interesting and booming one. Fans of them and their clashing sound are to be found anywhere, from the popular to the underground, from the deep-playing to the pure-chilling, from the addict to the random tasters of today's public. Progressive rock fans seem quite bemused and amazed too - though part of it could be an affection towards a melt between the veracious progressive colour and the hyperactive and intriguing mainstream art leaf - because Battles twist heavily with the juiciness of the rock quality (and the spice of a cult experiment), while Mirrored is seen, often, as a fantastic or even triumphant album, in an year when giants rehearsed new albums themselves , new bands desired to take the world by surprise and, finally, different artists made their bound of a fresh music.

What's more, Battles (and Battles's music, close to a separated, inspiring organism) inspire you to listen to an open source of exciting, elated, sugared-up or bold experimenting, in a state of jam, scratch-improvisation or high-definition rock that can be original within the depths of math, slam or art rock. Cut to the point, Mirrored, their decisive full debut, is a new wave, a striking hit, a demanding listen and a hurtling vapour - all at once. Adding greatly is the crew's talent and related band activity, each from the four piece ensemble bringing something from their avant-garde, heavy math rock, experimental fuzz punk or art pop linked esteem (Anthony Braxton's son, in such a new-wave band: my personal stun), but also desiring Battles as an expression of a blow minding bloom.

What then feels so wrong, bothersome or simply far from excellent?

Talking about the style is a cruel way of talking in sealed, rough or even nonsensical words. This music is, no doubt, a very free, relaxed and no-stress expression, carved into an album as to make a difference from all the jam sessions in the rock industry. Yet style becomes a full affection, once it is the rhythm that pulls you down the ecstatic or sorrow delight. And, yes, what seems like a perfect-made concept and a raving play has a deep complexity or a bottomless confusion, give or take the quality and the incisive manner. Math rock is an awesome plunge, with quirky or unconventional characters being actually part of the originality, which musicians of this generation know how to create so marvellously; due to the aforementioned melt between popular, modern-core, progressive and fusion senses, punk, indie & heavy rock, garage, avant, pop and prog are all in. Up progressive rock's particular fibber, the way of describing Mirrored is even more wooden and plastic. The adventurous hype in the album isn't enough for art rock to be a wonderful musical dream (sure, dark bassy vibes always bring in mind a Crimson shade), while the mixture of balanced and looping experiments is not so avant-gardish either. Whatever the quality (though it's not dramatically good, overall), Battles's album is a state of shock, heated jam or new art for these times of music. A little better and more interesting (instead of frighteningly awkward) and their row would be, in truth, revolutionary.

Mirrored flows, over a mild time length and sensitivity, in different ways. The electrifying act of improvisation is often a mood of hyperactive, streaming or lashing-out emotions, put in dance, experimental or avant-garde forms. Atlas, considered the best piece by more than enough voices, is indeed inspiring, its trance of beats and voice loops (these loops, particularly, evolve throughout the whole event to be a mixture of ragged or high vocal tones and animally samples) yelling a distinct style. Rainbow's fever is, yet again, charming or pure, Bad Trails's coldness and second set of vocal effects has a minimal groove perfection (and these three tracks, altogether, are probably the goods of Mirrored), while TIJ repeats the junk-bass strange jam of Atlas in a tiresome, even if "eclectic", way. But Battles proves that there's more to it than quirky and racing beats, shivers or raves, Tonto being one of the complex, dramatic experiments, the Race intro and outro proving a bit of art/math rock by franc tones, and Ddiamondd or Leyenbecker messing it up, by an undeniable bad music dish.

Mirrored has a plate of effects, stunts and grabbing pulses, in a comfortable rhythm and a convincing spark; it's just too bad the shape of its wave hasn't got brightness, elegance or, even if made of a young rave, a delightful unusualness . Battles and their novelty act isn't something formidable. It's just for fans, just for fun...

Report this review (#155210)
Posted Wednesday, December 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
el böthy
4 stars The music of the future is now upon us.

Yes ladys and gentleman, this is the band you have heard so much about and let me tell you, the praise is nothing but right! Battles are probably the most exciting band to debut with a studio album this year in music. Although the first impression, or the easiest cathegory to put Battles in is Math rock (and by no means is this incorrect) I strongly believe Battles is a genre of themself. Influences might be heard (I specially hear King Crimson´s Discipline here, for it is, in a vay, the next evolution Discipline would have taken... in a very strange way) but the influences stop when the music kicks in and it kicks!

I must say unlike most of my prog, I did not heard from Battles here first, in fact I was surprised it took so long for us in the site to start the yappin´ about them. It were two of my friends, not the biggest prog lovers maybe, but they still have very good musical judgements, who warned me about this quartet. At first I did not care much, to much of a snob I guess, but then... Atlas! "Oh man, this is the [&*!#]!" This guys sure know how to plug one right in with those electronic "vocals". And then, the turning point... I saw them live. With is the oddest thing, why would a new-formed band, form the underground musical scene come to the other end of the world, to a country where their only album is not even edited? But, how could I not go? And I went, and it was the [&*!#]! How this guys pull of complexity, boundaries (not pushing) breaking and experimentation for the masses is beyond me, but I really fell like I can give this album to almost anyone with a certain "good" taste in music.

Mirrored has the advantage of being their first album and I say thins `cause I fear Battles might not be able to top themself after this. And no, it is not a masterpiece, but the great thing about it is the freshness about it, it´s all so new, it´s all so... fresh! But can freshness stay for over one album? I surely hope they can and I think they will, they are obviously very capable, intelligent musicians... but this fear of mine might still be with me until they prove me wrong... or right.

Either way, what matters is the present and the present holds the future with Battles in Mirrored. In terms of innovation, this might be the album of the year, and even if it doesn´t turn out that way, Battles still has the worlds eras (or what matters of it) listening.

Report this review (#155371)
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Reality bites.

This bites for real. I mean, after reading many good praises about a band doing things differently (from New Musical Express), I seriously expected something more polished and thoughtful. Without bragging, this kind of music is not offering anything but modern noises and silly vocal rythmics. Wow, this is really hard to appreciate and I wonder what type of psyche will appreciate this.

It's not progressive rock at any means. Think more of a AUTHECRE (dirty asylum electro ambient) plus DAFT PUNK (for the simplicity) with SUPERSISTER's vocal sillyness and weird humor. Really out of range for the common mortal, and it's supposed to be more commercial! I mean Atlas got good ratings, and humbly, I could do the same with a sequencer and a drum machine with no experience. It really don't belong in the progressive world. Sheesh! Some stuff appears more of this world: some Gentle Giant touches here and there, but unfortunetly too few to really touch me.

Somebody talked about the music of the future, good Lord no!

Report this review (#155958)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I´m really impressed with this album, even though this is not my normal taste. Battles play very rythmic prog rock. Think eighties King Crimson and you´re just about there. There are lots of intricate rythms and time changes on display, so this is not background music. The technical level of the musicians are very high.

Even though the music rely much on rythm it´s not totally without melody. The vocals and some of the guitar parts sound partly melodic, even though you can´t compare this with normal melodies. The vocals are processed and sounds like a mouse swallowed helium much of the time. This is an aquired taste for sure. I must say the vocals leave me a bit cold. The music is very repetitive in nature, but not boring because of it. Many things happen all the time.

I can see why some people would call this a masterpiece, as this is very innovative music even though Battles are clearly inspired by eighties King Crimson. They don´t sound like a clone though. The sound quality is superb, maybe one of the best productions I have heard in years.

For me this is a 4 star album even though it doesn´t really satisfy my tastes. I have to bow for the innovative and exploring nature of Battles music though and praise the outstanding musicianship. A brilliant new addtition to the prog rock scene.

Report this review (#158719)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A really good and refreshing album, full of intricate and complex guitar parts intertwined together against a backdrop of loud and powerful, yet simple, drumming. Add happy and/or weird vocals and a lot of guitar sound effects and you have Battles.

However, Mirrored is a great album to own if you happen to like Discipline-era King Crimson and Gentle Giant guitar playing and vocals harmony (listens especially to Tonto). I think the whole interest of the album lies in the really interesting guitars interplay, the use of guitar textures and the ingenuity of the composition. There is some serious virtuosity in there, even if it's not in a « in your face » way. However, this music is somewhat repetitive and, being so, won't please to everybody in the prog-rock fandom.

It is not pure progressive rock, but it's prog with a modern edge to it, at the juncture of indie rock and electronic music. Really good indeed!

Report this review (#160508)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rating: B+

It must've been nice back in the days when genre distinctions were reasonably easy to follow. There's no such luxury today, however, as Battles clearly shows. On the one hand, they are very much within the indie mold, building off repetition to create robotic math rock. On the other hand, the technical ability required to play Mirrored, what with its nano-rhythms and rapid shifts of sections, is far more aligned with traditional prog music. So which is it?

Neither, actually. Battles are not truly indie, nor are they a 100% prog band, instead they lie somewhere between the two, on a plane of existence no one has touched before. This is music stripped as bare as it possibly can be, reduced to rhythms and little more. Throughout the entirety of Mirrored, you will chance upon so few melodies you could count them on one hand. Instead of melodies, you will find complex polyrhythms created by everything: the drums, the bass, the guitar, even the vocals. These rhythms are so layered, the songs sound full, and thus the listener doesn't feel cheated because of the lack of melodies. Indeed, repeated listens show that melodies would only clutter Mirrored, which, if left as is, is perfectly organized.

One need only listen to "Atlas" to hear first hand the complexity of Mirrored. After the opening section, everything drops out except one steady beat, around which new rhythms are added until Battles are right back into their multi-layered indie-math-prog explosion. And, while you might (rightly) wonder where emotion fits into such a framework, you needn't worry. While the music itself is almost completely emotionless, as technical and robotic as it is, the band members are clearly having a lot of fun (just listen to the downright silly vocals), and this transmits itself to the listener. In that sense, Mirrored is every bit as successful from an emotional standpoint as any other CD, even if its not conventional in the slightest. It's not flawless: I think it drags a bit in the second half before pulling itself together for an awesome finish, but overall, it's a clear highlight of 2007.

The members of Battles may be quick to point out their roots - several of the members hail from pioneering math rock band Don Caballero - but, ultimately, Battles looks less to the past and more to the future. Undeniably inventive and a genuinely fun band, Battles is a worthwhile band for everyone to look into. You might not like it, but you can't help but admire it. Preferably, of course, you will both love and admire it. It deserves nothing less.

Report this review (#161371)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Mirrored is one of the most innovating albums I've heard in years. The album caught my attention just by looking at the album art; it just seemed so amusing and interesting. As far as the music goes, sounds like a combination of math rock, progressive rock, indie, electronic music and others styles to create a kind of happy music that's totally weird and makes you move and jump all around.

The first thing to notice about the album are the vocals. Tyondai Braxton uses some sort of effect to create some weird sounding sort of happy vocals that add up a great element to their music. The drums are pretty decent (strange?) and keep up incredibly well with the music. Also the different effects and soundscapes that flow around in each and every song sound really good and give great atmosphere and energy to their music.

"Race In" the first song, is a pretty intense track that has a whistle and great vocals that create a pretty catchy melody. Besides "Atlas", this song could easily describe the entire album. Another track that caught my attention was Ddiamondd an extremely! happy song that's full of energetic vocals and whistles, but out all of them the ones I enjoyed, the most favorable was "Tonto", "Layender", "Bad Trails" and "Race Out" (great way to end the album), in fact the whole album is one pleasant ride of music.

In overall Mirrored is a great "weird" debut album by Battles that creates original intriguing music that you won't stop to listen, that combines elements not only from math rock but from different genres to create something totally new. I'd have to agree that this band has a bright future up ahead of them. Excellent album.

Report this review (#162039)
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first album of this young British band brought perhaps the most original sounding of the year, although quite hard to digest at certain point. In sum, it turned out to be an interesting blend of post-rock with alternative, electronic and psychadelia, with certain original details particularly at the voice, as if it was a parody to Looney Tunes. Although the experimentation, it relies on influences from Van der Graaf Generator to Krautrock, almost catapulting progressive rock to the indie scene. Indeed, the album flows like it was built like a joke which turned out into something serious. The hit Atlas is probably the music of the year.
Report this review (#165426)
Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fun, accesssible, manic with the intensity of ELP, the personality of Gentle Giant, Eletronica and a hint of post rock. This combination makes Battles sound both familiar but yet also groundbreaking, I agree with other reviewers this is prog for tomorrow. You can hear a strong influence of Gentle Giant in this band, but not derivative infact unlike anything you've ever heard. I believe this band is certainly original enough to be put on your buying list, they are not in anyway the many clone bands out there, they have their own voice and it will be exciting to see how this develops ion the future. What amazes me is how on earth this band got a hit on the charts and is considered hip? and yet have a unconventional sound, perhaps because everything else on the charts is tired,and this bands sounds so much more fresh, and amazingly very accesible but yet complex and mad. Definately worth your time, I'm giving them a five because this band is certainly progressive, not hung stuck in the 70s like so many contemporary prog (regressive rock) bands are, they are progressive and are looking to tomorrow.
Report this review (#165660)
Posted Friday, April 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was expecting a lot from this much-acclaimed record. I'm no fan of taking the soul and the human emotion out of music but I'm always ready to see where the brain and the musical mind can take us.

BATTLES most certainly takes us to unexpected places. Here we have an album where, as many have already said, the music becomes a machine, a computer, devoid of heart and feelings, full of rhythmic and harmonic inventions.

The music borders on electronic, on dance-techno, but it has plenty of rock elements. In the end, is first and foremost a rock album, and as such for me is a mixed success.

I certainly enjoy and admire the creativity and the skills showed by the band. Many of the tracks are made of simple, very simple ideas that get the BATTLES treatment whereby instrumentation and repetition are the key to achieve the goal. Ideas, melodies are not really what matters here. What is necessary is to find a single theme, a single riff, usually a bass line, build a complex drum pattern for it, and add layer after layer of guitar and synth work. The requisite is this: any hint of feeling has to dissapear. the music has to sound as unhuman as possible. At some times in the album the music verges on post-rock and that's where it's at its most human. But usually that lasts only a few seconds, as the constant addition of effects, noises and notes dehumanizes everything in the long run.

If I have a criticism towards this album is the fact that, from a personal point of view, it's difficult for me to fully enjoy music where repetition is one of the key factors. Many tracks, as I've described, are simple ideas repeated ad-nauseaum, something that makes this music seem to trivial, too experimental, even too pretentious, in a way. Another element I don't like that much is the ocassional use by the band of vocals, weird, speed-up, Alvin-and-the-Chipmunk style vocals that take some seriousness off of this fantastic experimental exercize.

As experiments go, this album gets a high 4.5. As a musical experience, I can't say it's perfect. Though from what the musicians tried to do, I can't help but agreeing they've succeded.

Report this review (#168520)
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Prog Math Rock essentially !!! Prog because of all has been thought in progressive way and everything seems to change constanly that you don't have the time to understand what music you are listening to. Math beacause everything it's robotic. Musicians have studied to create something perfect with rock instruments. One of those album that influences your way of listen to the music!

Report this review (#172148)
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars My honest oppinion: don't go out of your way to get this music, if it comes to you check it out. I've seen this band live, and I like some of this stuff, but the show bored the hell out of me and I actually left. I will agree that this music is unique, but for the sake of categorization, this is more like pyschadelic techno music than what one would consider progressive rock. It's not that complex, some interesting polyrhythms here and there, too repetitve for me though. I don't usually give bad ratings on this site, but honestly I feel that the overall rating is misleading, this music is just not that good. I give them credit none the less for their individuality, and I wish the band all the best, it just doesn't do it for me. Too much hype over pseudo-prog.
Report this review (#177027)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I saw them at Lowlands: one and a half year ago. I like their approach to music very much, but some things could have been more structured now and then. Some things just seem to be inserted randomly. There are highlights like 'Race: in' and 'Tonto'. There are also boring pieces like 'Leyendecker', which just likes to a boring Hip-hopbeat (no offence) with manipulated vocals. I was more enthousiastic of them when i saw them live, than when i heard them record. Their drummer plays very fast patterns and has a extroadinary technique.

Although this record wasn't very stable, album did made me interested in their future outputs, because they are really a one of a kind band.

Report this review (#193355)
Posted Monday, December 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the most exuberant albums I've ever heard. I've never heard any math rock, so I don't know where to go for comparisons. What I do know is that the music is strange, with quirky rhythms, outlandish vocals, and melodies that sound like they were written by aliens and found by the band after a much-too-close encounter. But the band (with tongue firmly planted in cheek, you infer) plays the songs with an energy and enthusiasm that draws you in and forces you to start tapping your foot and whistling, even involuntarily.

Before listening, I recommend watching some live performances on Youtube. It helps, because it becomes more obvious that the band is having fun and really digging what they're playing, instead of just trying to assault your senses and weird you out.

Report this review (#209298)
Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Battles ? Mirrored 3.5 stars

I'm sitting on the fence with this one.

It is undeniable to say that this band is highly original and innovative, but sometimes that comes with a hefty price, and I find it to be a lack of direction and composition. There are quite a few songs written wonderfully like the opener 'Race: In' and the follow up 'Atlas' with a mix of accessible math rock, avant-garde, densely layered electronics and danceable rhythms provided by the drums. Expect this formula to be present throughout the album, but it takes a bunch of ugly turns to being unlistenable stuff.

I find the album to be technically superior in terms of the band's sound, although this isn't guitar and keyboard wizardry like Dream Theater; they are doing some complicated stuff via rhythms and varied effects. But what I cannot understand at all is the need for vocals, which are nothing more than the sound of a bunch of mice trying to sing.

This is such an experimental album, and if you want something truly different, you have to listen to this album. With the experimentation at such a high level, it came with a price. I rate it very good, but it could have been a lot better.

Report this review (#224038)
Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progressive Rock in the purest sense of the term.

While I was initially sceptical when I first heard about this band (acclaim from hipster publications and mainstream press is rarely justified); but from the first time I heard 'Atlas' I was utterly convinced tht these weren't another bunch of preening hipsters. I had heard nothing like it before, and while there are hints of Don Caballero-esque math-Rock and nods to the vintage bands of the 70s and 'Discipline' era King Crimson, Battles' sound is very much their own.

Although this group are often criticized fo having a 'cold' or 'robotic' feel I find that the sheer joy of creating music as a tight unit and the desire to innovate shine through the bands playing. The album is admittedly incredibly inorganic. You get the impression that every note and studio effect is placed immaculately. The vocals are processed heavily throughout; there are very few instances where you get an idea of what Tyondai Braxton's voice actually sounds like ('Ddiamondd' being one of these).

And though the music could be brushed off as clinical brain food I find that this is a very easy, fun album to listen to. Most of the songs on Mirrored are filled with catchy melodies and rhythms, the aforementioned 'Atlas' being the prime example of having both of these aspects. 'Leyendecker' even reminds me of modern pop "RnB" songs (turned incredibly weird though). It's very hard not to incessantly nod your head or tap your foot when hearing songs like 'Tonto' and 'Tij' making it hard to listen to in public...

While all members show impressive skill and prescision on multiple instruments the real star of this band for me is veteran drummer John Stanier, whose sometimes simplistic but always powerful drum patterns are the solid foundation on which the other members' interlocking guitar/keyboard/bass patternsare based.

Not every track is a winner however, though. The album kind of trails off after the mid-point song 'Rainbow' (the most 'prog' tune on the album). 'Prismism' at 52 seconds is not long enough to be of any value but is just the right length to be an annoying distraction. 'Bad Trails' provides a relief from the more energetic songs but is too half-formed to really grab attention.

While the band aren't quite there yet, I feel like they have the potential to write a classic album. I would reccommend this band to anyone looking for something wildly different but still easily listenable in the genre of Math-Rock and fans of electronica Krautrock and more adventurous fans of Gentle Giant and King Crimson.

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Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are times where I felt as if I had found myself in a stagnation, yet I can only delve through a few hipster ventures before I regress back to that original state. It's a bit naive to simply shake off a band like Battles as a by-product of Warp Records' fetish of the overly robotic or abrasive. I was introduced to Battles by a friend who was a great fan of Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher (who, I admit, I have a fascination of) and I did not fully expect the sonic power behind the band.

I fully imagined Battles to sound like a cold, soulless venture into icy math-rock; I was partially right, as much as the songs have a layered, mathematical sound, there is an ever-present sense of humour and expanse. "Race: In" is the perfect opener, and it's a nice foreshadowing of the density the music develops later on, and "Atlas" is a great piece, marred only by the gimmick of the pedaled voice Braxton included; however, it doesn't detract badly, as I had heard others complain about. "Ddiamondd" is a bizarre collection of stuttering lines and heavy bass, which is indiscernible from a treated bass. What is appealing of Battles is their usage of interesting timbre which they develop quite efficiently, especially on "Tonto" which is a very progressive song with a hearkening to Discipline by King Crimson, with the oscillating guitars and keyboards that fit so well with eachother. The one track that threw me off was "Leydendecker" which was a deadpan impression of the overdramatic gated-drum effect and irritating buzz-saw synthesizers present in dance music, which I've never been fond of at all.

Building off "Rainbows" the rest of the album precipitates into unique, but somewhat familiar territory with the very mechanical, but fluid compositions. The final two songs, "Tij" and "Race: Out" are the essential part of the album that ends the album on a very high note. "Tij" begins with a looping effect that almost feels like being thrown back and forth, and Braxton's stuttering vocals add to the bizarre effect of the song, and the rest of the buildup is handled powerfully and effectively by John Stanier-- who, while citing Bill Bruford, known for his subdued complexity, and Carl Palmer, the bombastic showman, as his influences, somehow finds a middle ground of simplistic, but incredibly precise drumming that radiates throughout the album, here he really shines. "Race: Out" is the piece that re-states the original theme of "Race: In" that I have always loved. I don't know if it's cliched to do a re-capitulation of an album on the last song, but it's where the band show off their impressive ability to stitch together a memorable album, even when individual members play no more important parts then their bandmates. Altogether, the album is very much worth listening to, for anyone that desires to hear something truly unique, even those of you who are overly dependant on the symphonic, and are afraid of venturing into the colder, more unfamiliar sonic territory.

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Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quirky, Math-y, Multi-Colored, and Superb

Battles' single album MIRRORED blew me away on first listen. It is one of those albums that I wanted to rush out and give 5 stars immediately. However, now that I've went through that experience quite a few times, I knew I needed to let it percolate awhile. Now, months after I purchased the album, I'm still pretty close to awarding a masterpiece rating. After repeated listens, the album does suffer from the repetition issues that plague almost every album in this category. It's a little tiring after 11 songs, and by the end I'm ready to move on. A great ride, but not one I'm going to hop back on immediately. At the same time, this can be more a sign of an album being challenging than anything being wrong with it. I've listened several times today, and continue to be very impressed. Songs that I thought were a little weaker reminded me how imaginative and powerful they were.

This album is a much more thickly textured work than most math rock, with keyboards and processed vocals playing a huge part in the sound. The mechanical nature of these layers adds a lot to the insistent rhythms typical of math. Where some bands like Don Caballero always sounded too noisy for the general feel of the music to me, the sound of Battles is cohesive. It makes sense. Former Helmet drummer John Stanier adds a bit more "rock" to the calculated compositions, striking a better balance between tight beatkeeping and human feel than some of his peers. In fact, the music of Battles is much closer to my ideal of math than the more prototypical bands of the genre.

The music here is almost giddily upbeat. Pitch-shifted and harmonized vocal lines evoke images of tie-dyed chipmunks after too much coffee. The bounce of the instruments is clearly ahead of the beat, almost begging for a communal hop-in-place dance. Polyrhythmic ideas abound, and tones range from crisp bells to big beefy bass. Instruments play in unison, complement, and even counterpoint. From the opening track, we know we're in for a crazy trip. Like all post-rock, the music is created by variation of the balance of different layers, each of which repeats a music idea (sometimes effectively, sometimes a bit too much.) Watching the band perform live on youtube, I realize just how dependent the music is on the mix and the mode of listening. Without proper balance, the repeating themes can become mind-numbing. Luckily, the mix here is quite good, and the parts weave in and out to great effect for the majority of the time.

Again, the album can cause a little listener fatigue by the end. But the overall effect is fresh and quite impressive. Battles offer a unique take on a still fairly small genre of music. This is part of what progressive means in the 2000's. MIRRORED is certainly an excellent entry to any prog library, at least any one interested in what is actually new now. 4+/5 stars.

Favorite tracks: "Tonto," "Leyendecker"

Report this review (#271555)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the rapid-fire percussion that begins "Race: In", I knew this album would be a keeper. Throughout Mirrored, there are strange sounds, great reserves of talent, and enough drums and guitars to keep any math rock fan happy. Mirrored is simply an incredible album that manages to be fresh and unique but also engaging and accessible. Though labeled as math rock, most of the songs seem to be in 4/4; that's not to say that they don't use strange time signatures, just not as much as most math rock bands. Some tracks of note would be: Leyendecker, where the vocal effects work to their maximum potential; Bad Trails, which builds a very nice atmosphere and is more laid-back than most of the others on the album; Race: In, with heaps of sonic effects, incredible drumming, more awesome vocals, and loads of guitar; Atlas, a robotic, mechanical and almost comical song, and the lead single from the album (also appeared in LittleBigPlanet, exposing Battles to a large audience); and finally, Tonto, a simply incredible, possibly perfect song, showcasing everything Battles does right on the album, and truly a song for the ages. Mirrored as a whole, though not necessarily flawless, is engaging and enjoyable, recommended to anybody who likes good weird music.
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Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Over 40 years after the term came to be, Battles has perfected the idea of "Cosmic Jazz" with "Mirrored", a math rock album that knows no equal in sound engineering, technical proficiency or pure melodic bliss.

"Mirrored" is one of those albums that pulls the listener into a musical vortex-it has elements in common with but is vastly different from the music you know, and yet you are eager to venture forth and explore its radiant tapestry. Similarly to Brian Eno's "Another Green World", this is an album that pulls idea from sheer sound and gives it life in the form of melody. The closest album to approximating a deep-space acid trip since "Wish You Were Here", "Mirrored" transports the listener into the world of its music with the same, or greater, focus that so many space-rock albums before it have achieved.

If making so many comparisons to other albums and styles of music makes the record in question seem derivative, I encourage you to drive such sentiments out of your head-Battles have created an album that defies standard labeling, no matter how hard critics and listeners like myself may attempt. From the first track you know you're in for something special, and by the time you reach "Atlas" that "special" turns into "magical", roping you in with a mixture of thumping, danceable rhythms and an Ennio-Morricone-from-Jupiter scale of grandeur. There's not one nut or bolt out of place on the entire album-John Stanier plays his drums with nearly robotic precision in time signatures that would drive other drummers into madness, and the production rings like little else this decade. It's an album of big sonic ideas, engineered by only those worthy enough to give Battles' sonic vision the clarity it deserves.

There's a reason that I don't give 5 star reviews very often-I always find I wind up having little to say about the things I truly enjoy. Simply put, "Mirrored" defies explanation: It's the spiritual tone of Pink Floyd combined with the relentless complexity of Don Caballero and produced with the cleanness of an R&B radio hit, and even that doesn't quite describe what you're getting into. If you have any love for instrumental music, experimental rock or any sense of cosmic scale when it comes to music, "Mirrored" is an essential album.

Report this review (#300919)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Math-rock is not a genre I would want to listen to every day, but compared to most examples of this music, Mirrored is rather warm and soulful. This is undoubtably because of the participation of vocalist/keyboardist Tyondai Braxton, son of avant-jazz musician Anthony Braxton. He has since left the group and I can't imagine a Tyondai-less Battles making another album as good as this one. But who knows, stranger things have happened. Joining Braxton here is guitarist Ian Williams, formelly of Don Cabellero, perhaps the most well-known Math band. As well we have drummer John Stanier who used to be in the metal band Helmet. I can't remember exactly what the background of bassist/guitarist Dave Konopka is. Together they create some fresh music for the 21st century.

It's strange that these guys are on Warp records, a label more known for it's experimental electronic artists like Aphex Twin, Autechre and Squarepusher(here on PA). I don't think Battles is the only 'rock' group to have signed to Warp, but certainly the most famous. "Atlas" should have been a big hit, but unfortunately it's not something your average Kanye West or Linkin Park fan wants to hear. Their loss. I love how the tempo starts to slow down in "Tonto". "Rainbow" is the longest song here and the one that is closest to sounding like 'traditional' prog. "Snare Hangar" is great but at just 2 minutes is way too short. I love where the piano comes in about halfway through. Stunning.

Tyondai uses computers to alter his voice to great effect. Sometimes he sounds like a scary chipmunk! The music here is well played and the songs are generally interesting. This certainly does not sound like your typical Math-rock, but the instrumental prowess is there. It's actually kind of hard to describe the music here. Sort of a weird combination of hard rock, jazz- rock, hip-hop, country-rock and electronica. But trust me, that description doesn't do any of the music here justice. You have to hear it yourself. Symphonic Prog fans will likely find this music too repetitive; Metal folks won't think it's heavy enough; and your average rock fan in general will probably think it's too electronic. But if you have an open mind towards newer music and want to hear something that's fairly unique for something that came out in 2007, you might enjoy this. 4 stars.

Report this review (#304667)
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before I write this review, I must say, Battles' Mirrored is my favorite album, so for people who have not heard this and are not fans of musical taste I suggest you leave now. This review may come out as some sort of "fanboy review", but I will try to make it more regarding the album than my love to the album.

Anyways, back on track, Mirrored is Battles' first studio album (they also have EP C/B EP, a combination of two EPs, but it is not an album as most people think), and in most people's opinion, the best. This is also, sadly, their last album with lead singer, guitarist, vocalist, and musical genius, Tyondai Braxton, before leaving in August 2010.

Mirrored is one of those albums where you can't assign a genre to it, because whenever you do, a different genre comes up in your mind and you must state it. If I had to call it a name it would be "Progressive Math Post Groove Electro Dance Metal Rock Funk with Pop hintings", and that is not something you would like to see! So I like to call it an "eclectic masterpiece".

Everyone who gets the album must have heard of Atlas, the most famous track on this album. If you have not heard it here, you have heard it on PS3 game Little Big Planet, and if not there, then on an Honda advert, and so on. Its catchy glam rock-ish drum groove begins the track and is the signature of the song. Many loop overdubs played by musical masters Tyondai, Dave (Konopka), and Ian (Williams). After enough loops are played, Ty begins with a note played through his microphone which is then run through a PS-3 (no pun intended) Boss pitch shifter, which gives his voice a baby like attitude, which still, somehow does not affect the song's seriousness. The boys then go into an instrumental section, and then all stop playing, leaving Dave's bass loop still running. They jam, and they jam, until they reach an insane climax and go back into the vocals, all loops running, and take them out, one by one. This song is truly a musical epic and is one of the greatest songs I have ever heard. Its combination of poppy catchiness and structure, and progressive musical composition is something that is rarely found and should be enjoyed, on this album.

Another hit on this album is Tonto, the second single. Most people are calling it "Atlas 2" and an attempt to rip-off a song which they knew would be massive hit. It is true, that structurally they are pretty identical, intro, "verse", "chorus", breakdown, verse, but musically they are very different. The song begins with a guitar riff very not reminiscent of math rock, maybe even some early Led Zeppelin, and is then joined by drummer (god) John Stanier. Again, the band plays some riffs, some reminiscent of mid-eastern Balkan Rock such as Boom Pam, and some just electronic, which remind me of good old Battles. After a few minutes of intense riffing, they get to the heaviest, metallic part, which sounds a bit like Tera Melos meets Don Caballero, but still maintains a bluesy and groovy attitude. They blast it all full force with amazing drum fills and keyboard/guitar action from Tyondai and Ian. They top it off and then go into the amazing breakdown at 3:25 which sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Foals. The song goes into a few more techno riffs, and then back into the riff, which slows down and then ends the song.

The next song is Leyendecker, and man, this is song is weird. It starts off with a very hip- hoppy drum part, which makes you doubt if this is Battles, but then the bass and keyboards go in, and it starts sound a little more like Prefuse 73 than Jay-Z, if you know what I mean. After a few bars, Ty goes in with his vocals, again, with the Boss PS-3, they jam around with some reverb-ish keyboard parts and the vocal line, until the song ends on Ty's reverse vocal jam. Overall, this song is not very musically interesting, and follows the same basic 4-note bassline, but the ability to hum to this song is almost sad, because this is one of the catchiest songs on the album.

Next comes, Rainbow, 8 minute prog epic in 19/8ths!!! With the rest of the album you think, "Oh, this is definitely Battles", but this song takes you back to the 70's or 80's prog with massive keyboard riffs and guitar counterpoints all based around a very insane time signature. The song begins with a delay guitar riff which then is joined by keyboards and drums blasting full volume, before reaching some sort of climax with insane triplet breaks which I dare not count. Then the song evolves into some insane part with John banging away on the snare in ways you did not think were possible. After 4 rounds of that, a very childish, yet creepy, tune is played on the keys, again in 19/8. They alternate between these two parts for a few times before Ty comes in with about three parts of very reverbed vocals taking the song down low before again, climaxing. After the final climax, comes a beautiful guitar and vocals part, in which, finally, Ty sings with no vocal effects. The combination of all the reverb on only those two instruments make a very disturbing and beautiful musical eutopian envoirment to the listener.

Now comes the weaker part of the album, the two songs, Bad Trails and Prismism. Bad Trails is a drum-less track, played mainly by Dave on the bass and Ian on keyboards. Once in a while Ty sings a couple of vocal lines, but that's it, basically. Prismism is one-minute track, which sounds pretty much like a filler. It is a triplet based keyboard riff that just repeats for a minute before seguing into drum masterpiece,

Snare Hangar. Finally, John gets some focus! This song is all based on John's 8-bar drum part and how the band builds their insane lines and riffs around it. This is another poppy song, in some ways. I mean, it IS Battles but it's pretty short, written in a major scale, features some happy jumpy parts, and doesn't have any real complications to it. Pretty reminiscent of Gang Gang Dance, only with jumpy drum lines.

Now come the two unsung heroes of Mirrored, Tij, and Race: Out. Dave plays a note and then plays with it on his Echoplex, before transforming it into a loop that sounds like a Transformer moaning. Ty records his actual moaning onto it, and in no time, John comes in with the signature Battles drum part, and then BREAK, and the song goes into overdrive. Ian records a keyboard riff while Dave takes his guitar and Whammy and plays some neat guitar lines over it. Sudden change of genre, the song takes a metal twist, and John blasts out his 7-foot high crash in a burst of hits as Ty sings a catchy vocal line. The song breaks down for a bit as Ian introduces a new guitar/keyboard riff, and they rise up again, with this riff taking the lead, instead of the old one. As an everchanging ever-lively band, it takes them only a few seconds to go back into the old, main, keyboard riff, which we know and love. Again, it seems as if they return to the metal part, but they breakdown instead, and return to the second keyboard riff. After a few rounds, the song takes a whole new twist, with only Tyondai's moans and John's funky drum riff. The band plays some creepy yet satisfying lines before going into the song's final breakdown of clicks and clacks.

Race: Out is the album's final track. It begins with guitars playing a delayed, reverbed, reversed, line, which sounds like a whole orchestra! John and Dave start to play and they set the tempo higher and higher as the strings fade out until the strings are no more. Dave loops his part as he switches to guitar, and gives Ian the go. Ian plays a very short keyboard riff which we heard in Race: In before blasting into a three guitar riff as John plays his 8th note hi-hats. It takes him no longer than five seconds before blasting into a drum part which continues on until the end of the song. The guitar line is very simple and reminds me of 70's funk, somehow.

For the whole of this review, I have tried to list bands which sound like the songs, but since Battles are so unique, I can not give examples. This is an album that even the most praising reviews cannot do it justice, and you have to listen to it yourself to believe! 5 stars for the decade's masterpiece...

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Posted Sunday, July 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although Battles attained a surprising degree of commercial success with this album - mainly through the song Atlas being used on a whole bunch of soundtracks for things - there's no hint of them diluting their quirky math rock approach on this album. Having tried out a few different approaches on the preceding EPs, Battles have cooked up a catchy sound in which Tyondai Braxton's eccentric vocals are subjected to so many effects they effectively become another instrument in the band's arsenal. With addictive rhythms, manic performances, and intriguing compositions, Battles have produced an album which manages to be accessible without compromising their integrity.
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Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Maybe I don't understand what's so innovative about this album, but to me it just feels stale. That's not to say that the music is bad... It's perfectly listenable. There's even the odd song or (more often) hook in a song that draws the listener in and manages to keep the attention span of most listeners. That being said though, this feels like one of those albums that just happens, it starts, it goes by, it finishes and its forgotten and the listener isn't rewarded for sticking through this album... The listener is left with nothing. When the album finished, I couldn't help but feel as though my time would have been better spent fluffing my pillows, painting my fence, researching otters or grooming a cat.

Perhaps I'm not being fair, you can thoroughly enjoy an album without it leaving a lasting impact on you and, at times, this album is thoroughly enjoyable. But in that statement lies my main problem with the album... It teases you. It offers a moment that's interesting, dare I say ingenious, but as soon as it begins the music reverts back into its safe sound, operating somewhere somewhere between Daft Punk, Radiohead and Don Caballero (without the technical prowess).

The album isn't a complete wash, the song 'Atlas' is well worth your while, the production is top notch, there are some interesting things going on at this record. But at the end of the day this is a mediocre math-rock record with varied songwriting and no real cohesive feeling to the overall album. I'd recommend the album to fans of math rock and/or indie rock but for your average prog listener you aren't going to miss out by passing this record over.

Occasionally interesting but consistently inconsistent.


Report this review (#1156869)
Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Innovative masterpiece! Mirrored has every typical elements of math rock : mainly instrumental, rythmical complexity, melodic « poverty », mechanical aesthetic, original sounds, noise... however, it distinguished itself by an avant-garde aspect such as bands like Thinking Plague -but in another style-. Maybe it's hidden behind its catchy and joyful side but Battles is much more avant-garde than pop, even if the avant-garde aspect is finally more obvious in Thyondai Braxton solo works than in the next Battles' releases. "Race : In" is great and proves instantly the rythmical skill of the band (guitar ostinato passing from binary to ternary like an african groove) and their innovative potential with many weird ideas (atonal-bluesy riff, crossed patterns between guitar and keyboard, ascending voice at the end). The single "Atlas" is very fun and like a psychedelic blessing with full, metallic and soft guitar sounds giving a dreamy texture above a swinging ryhtm and ingenuous melodies. The crescendo in the middle working on rythmical layers is amazing. After that, it becomes angrier with the aggressive -but always joyful- and almost noise "Ddiamondd". "Tonto" is more catchy thanks to cool pentatonic riffs and, despite that rock spirit, we're still in an extravagant area with multiplied voice, strange dissonances, chinese stuff and composition effects (slowing ostinato changing the atmosphere into something deeply meditative). "Leyendecker" is an (insipid) R'n'B attempt. More exciting is the minimalist and naive "Rainbow" based on a major arpeggio in 19/8 repeated above all sections (except a very humorous one with a horn imitation) until an ethereal climax in which we hear the natural voice of Thyondai for the first time. In "Bad Trails", above a tribal rhythm on a birds singing background, the band shows a rich range of sounds (thirds, timpani, big reverb, saturated bass, noise effects and various keyboard sounds). After the African interlude "Prismism" and "Snare Hangar" sophisticated metric, "Tij" is another top of this album: weirdness, groovy polyrhythmic game which superimposes binary and ternary, and a subtly techno moment where the guitarist insists on a single note. If you haven't the Japanese version, the album ends with "Race: Out" which begins on a highly hypnotic part and continues on a more traditional groove (once is not custom) with a melody in crossed motifs. It certainly deserves five stars!
Report this review (#1533925)
Posted Monday, February 29, 2016 | Review Permalink

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