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The Physics House Band

Post Rock/Math rock

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The Physics House Band Metropolis album cover
4.00 | 7 ratings | 3 reviews | 29% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Death Sequence I (5:27)
2. Calypso (3:38)
3. Death Sequence II (3:48)
4. Death Sequence III (6:05)
5. Holy Caves / Surrogate Head (12:20)
6. ObeliskMonolith (3:52)
7. Obidant (3:56)
8. Impolex (4:34)
9. The Astral Wave (3:43)
10. Mobius Strip II (1:30)

Total Time 48:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Samuel Organ / guitar, synths
- Miles Spilsbury / saxophone, piano, synths
- Adam Hutchinson / bass, synths
- Dave Morgan / drums

Releases information

Recorded live at Metropolis Studios, London in 2019

CD, Digital album - Unearthly Vision label

Release date May 8, 2020

Thanks to TCat for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Metropolis ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND Metropolis reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The Physics House Band is a math rock band that is obviously flying under the radar of complex, progressive music lovers everywhere. I ran across them by accident and didn't think much about them until I was reviewing new releases a few days ago. The band formed back in 2011, releasing rather short albums here and there that have been labeled as experimental, but that might be a bit misleading except for the fact that they are pushing the boundaries of math rock into some exciting territory. They have also worked and toured with great bands like 'Jaga Jazzist' and '65daysofstatic', other innovators in their genre just like they are.

I usually don't get that excited about live albums, let alone consider them for one of the best of the year, but 'Metropolis' is definitely one that is in the running. The albums the band has released in the past have been short. This live album, recorded before a small invited audience at Metropolis Studios in London, is an exception to this as it runs a hefty 50 minutes (hefty in comparison to their albums that typically don't even reach 30 minutes). This allows the listener to more fully experience their sound, which is surprisingly varied and almost always complex. But the dynamics and mood changes are awesome.

Except for one minor flaw, the track placement is perfect. Most of the first half consists of more involved works that are longer. Tracks 1, 3 and 4 make up the three parts of what is called Death Sequence'. They all come from the EP of the same name. These are dark and somewhat sinister tracks that are quite obviously tied together, and give the listener insight into how dark and complex the band's music can be. Stuck in the middle of these (track 2) is the much happier and infectious 'Calypso' which comes from the album 'Mercury Fountain'. This is an excellent track, however, it is totally out of place stuck in the middle of the dark trilogy. That is the one slight drawback of the album, but, its quite minor. Track 5, on the other hand, is much better placed after the Death Sequence final part, this track being the melding of 'Holy Caves/Surrogate Head', which is a definite, hard and heavy epic track at 12 minutes, and consists of some amazing improvisation that can remind one of some excellent space rock style jamming which often gets overtaken by the sprawling sax solos that almost seem violent.

The rest of the album consists of shorter tracks that mostly come from 'Mercury Fountain' (except for track 7 which comes from the album 'Horizons/Rapture'). The aforementioned track 'Calypso' would have fit better in this part of the album. 'ObeliskMonolith' is a complex and somewhat noise affair at the onset, but it later calms down halfway through, but finishes in the same manner that it begins. 'Obidant' is more atmospheric and ventured into avant territory as it slides mysteriously along, but suddenly explodes into complexity later on. 'Impolex' carries on almost seamlessly from the previous track, synths becoming a bit more evident now, and the somewhat organized structure that is introduced soon gets swirled into the whirlwind that is created. There is another instance of spacey guitar that takes the track into drone territory as the instruments echo into oblivion. A sudden interruption takes the listener into the quiet pensiveness of 'The Astral Wave' which sounds much more acoustic with soft guitar, piano and chimes effects. The track shimmers along, cooling down the wild atmosphere from before. Then the drums bring in a nice but fuzzy part led by the guitar, and intensity quickly builds to a heavy ending. It all ends with a short 'Mobius Strip II' which pretty much summarizes everything.

This album is quite an amazing display of this talented band showing their wide range of style, which is in and of itself, quite surprising for a math rock band. Overall, it can seem to consist of two parts, the darker first half and the more free-wheeling, heavy complexities of the 2nd half. All the way through this album, the bass stands out quite heavily, and that is another thing that keeps this album engaging. The sax is present almost all the way through, but it finds itself meshed in with the other sounds and wildness that is going on. Most listeners will not even notice this album is live as the audience sounds are cut right out, but there is a bit of a 'off-the-cuff' sound to it all so you know that there are no overdubs, but that this tight and talented band can produce this music on the spot. The band obviously thrives in a live environment, and this album is more of a sizeable helping of their style, and you definitely feel satisfied by the end of the album. Those that love math rock or any kind of progressive music that pushes the boundaries of that genre will love this album and it will probably appeal to lovers of fusion. Also, any lover of heavy bass will want to listen to this album. Excellent, quirky, tight and engaging, this 50 minutes will still be over before you know it. 4 1/2 stars (rounded down to 4).

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Be sure to listen, this is an intriguing entity! Avantgarde, Math, Fusion, Eclectic, Space, all that would be appropriate in some way, when trying to describe their music. Right on the stage the energy is thriving, obviously. In recent times I already had the pleasure to follow some of their live takes offered on youtube. And the recordings taken for this album are the result of nearly such circumstances at the Metropolis Studios, situated in London. That means a more intimate show setting due to a small invited audience. The four musicians are performing already known songs in a slightly modified manner. And, to be also expected of course, they are in very good shape on this occasion. First of all, due to Dave Morgan they are having one hell of a drummer in the ranks, extremely acting to the point, it's a pleasure to follow him.

Okay, trying to be fair, the others, to name guitarist Samuel Organ (yeah, really!), Adam Hutchison (bass) and Miles Spilsbury (saxophone, synths), are not staying in the back here. That should be added. The quartet delivers a set which is quite overwhelming. There's a lot of jamming to state actually. But nevertheless, one can say that's just proper free space, reserved by the well thought out compositions. The Death Sequence suite deserves a special mention, their newest effort, especially the third part, which is simply brillant. Though this is cut open, one can say, by the speedy track Calypso. Not sure about the deeper sense. Anyway, we can file this under artistic freedom definitely. Finally said the couple Holy Caves/Surrogate Head always makes my day when listening. Wow, do not miss that artistic highlight!

Review by DangHeck
4 stars The sole live album by our Brighton Prog-Math band, I remember when this was released and it was the first time in a while where I was intrigued to check out a live release (since some friends of mine got on Audiotree Live... and, like, for the latest official Holdsworth release). I'm a big believer in the superiority of studio recordings (maybe 95% of the time). What I didn't know when it was released was that this is the first time we hear newer addition to the band, saxophonist Miles Spilsbury (who made their debut on Death Sequence, 2019), on a number of tracks (anything that's not from the Death Sequence EP, so most of it). As the name of this live album implies, this was recorded at Metropolis Studios in London.

As from the start, with "Death Sequence I", this is a natural showcase of the ability of this band. Strong performance, with Spilsbury at the helm. All in full-stride around minute 2. "Calpyso" is a straight-ahead number. Then it's onto "Death Sequence II", I feel it nice to have had these first two parts separated. Low and slow till the backend. The sax and the drums (of course, in my experience) are absolutely the highlight. "Death Sequence III" closes out this showcase of their newest chapter, a spacy, more electronic, synthy, feeling song. It's pretty good.

Onto two of their career highlights from Mercury Fountain (my personal favorite release thus far), an extended (like doubled in length) version of "Holy Caves" into "Surrogate Head". There's something Floyd-esque in this minimal (also apparently extended) intro (like Umma Gumma?). These two tracks together are more of a modern Space jam. I feel like it's weirdly a weaker show of them here... Then an even more notable number but from their earliest effort, "ObeliskMonolith", this one actually shortened when compared to the original, perhaps faster (I'm fairly confident, yes)? This is a glowing track, with blazing speed and with the excellent addition of sax. The rhythm section is, of course, fire. Awesome. The certain album highlight for me.

The remainder of this release is entirely from Mercury Fountain, in fact the final 4 tracks are the final 4 of that album, performed in order. Not too surprising, given its strong song cycle structure. "Obidant" starts things off low, slow and creeping, then in its second half loud and boisterous. Nice, quick guitar solo here at the end. "Impolex" starts off immediately and with immediacy, with brutal, incessant bass, distant saxings and synthy glimmers. Compositionally minimal, but in your face. All falls away on "The Astral Wave", with soft, clean guitar and what sounds like acoustic piano. An immediate build around the midpoint gives way to a feeling guitar solo over a sweet groove. Here it is a gradual build, with underlying synths and growing rhythm section, culminating to beefy guitar riffage and a sax solo. Finally, it's "Mobius Stripp II", the album closer twice now. Very spacy, even minimal, and then booming. A wicked and sudden burst to conclude it all.

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

I think this would be a solid introduction to this band's discography. I think they've had more success in the studio, but still a shining show of their potential.

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