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Battles

Post Rock/Math rock


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Battles Mirrored album cover
3.76 | 116 ratings | 30 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Race: In (4:50)
2. Atlas (7:07)
3. Ddiamondd (2:33)
4. Tonto (7:43)
5. Leyendecker (2:48)
6. Rainbow (8:11)
7. Bad Trails (5:18)
8. Prismism (0:52)
9. Snare Hangar (1:58)
10. Tij (7:03)
11. Race: Out (3:29)
12. Katoman (2:08) (Japanese Bonus Track)

Total Time: 54:00

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Tyondai Braxton / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Dave Konopka / bass,guitar, effects
- Ian Williams / guitar, keyboards
- John Stanier / drums

Releases information

CD Warp Records WARP CD156 (UK & US) (2007)
2xLP Warp Records WARP LP 156 (UK) (2007)
CD Beat Records BRC-174 (Japan) (2007)
CD (Promo) Warp Records WARP CD 156 P (UK) (2007)
2xLP(RE) Warp Records Limited WARP LP 156 (UK) (2011)

Thanks to chamberry for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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BATTLES Mirrored ratings distribution


3.76
(116 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
37%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

BATTLES Mirrored reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

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Send comments to chamberry (BETA) | Report this review (#150990) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#154462) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 06, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#154961) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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...

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Send comments to Ricochet (BETA) | Report this review (#155210) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Review by el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to el böthy (BETA) | Report this review (#155371) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2007

Review by Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#155958) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#158719) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Review by burritounit
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to burritounit (BETA) | Report this review (#162039) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#165426) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 31, 2008

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#168520) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#224038) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
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"

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#271555) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#304667) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
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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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#722125) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Latest members reviews

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 mos ... (read more)

Report this review (#1156869) | Posted by MJAben | Wednesday, April 02, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#479955) | Posted by The Runaway | Sunday, July 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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-i ... (read more)

Report this review (#300919) | Posted by 40footwolf | Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 un ... (read more)

Report this review (#278839) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 abrasi ... (read more)

Report this review (#247748) | Posted by Aspic | Sunday, November 01, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 o ... (read more)

Report this review (#226234) | Posted by brainerd | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ban ... (read more)

Report this review (#209298) | Posted by nmccrina | Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#193355) | Posted by Foolsdrummer | Monday, December 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#177027) | Posted by meddlehead40 | Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#172148) | Posted by fred84 | Sunday, May 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#165660) | Posted by Cheesecakemouse | Friday, April 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 oth ... (read more)

Report this review (#161371) | Posted by Pnoom! | Saturday, February 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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 i ... (read more)

Report this review (#160508) | Posted by Karbo | Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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, e ... (read more)

Report this review (#154739) | Posted by UltimaPrime | Saturday, December 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#154734) | Posted by earlyprog | Saturday, December 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 typic ... (read more)

Report this review (#151235) | Posted by moreitsythanyou | Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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