Haha, eight isn’t a very high number.
The alcohol content of this Double Bastard Ale I’m currently drinking is 10.5%.
I’m gonna go outside now.
This is the first installment of The Trading Post, what hopefully becomes an ongoing series in which I trade albums with fellow writer friends and then we proceed to dance about the architecture with which we’re presented. This project stems from the many discussions through which it became undeniably clear that my musical tastes are vastly different than most of my literary friends; I thought it would be fun and enlightening for us to both share what we love with while hearing new music we might not otherwise encounter. Though there will likely be a decent amount of hating on stuff (from myself at least), that’s not the point at all. Rather, much like my encounter Lynne Tillman’s novel American Genius: A Comedy, I appreciate wrestling with work with which I don’t have an immediate affinity and then trying to understand why I might hate it so much while also recognizing important qualities such a work may possess. Having said all that, these aren’t going to be deep analyses, either, merely thoughtful reactions or something along those lines. I guess we’ll see what happens and that’s part of the fun!
For this first installment, Seth Graves decided on a simple trade based on vocals and guitar. He gave me albums by Why?, Danielson and Destroyer. In return I made him listen to albums by Gorguts, Krallice and Vektor. We’ll start with Seth’s responses because I flipped an imaginary coin and won the toss. Follow us after the jump!
Finally, things are returning to semi-normalcy and I can get back to some too-long neglected items around here. It’s finally sorta nice out today in Brooklyn (meaning=not raining), I’ve had my iced coffee and a little time was spent job searching. Now to the important stuff: math rock.
Since I started this series off with mostly heavier bands, I’m going to head down a “lighter” path today. That doesn’t mean the following outfits are soft on the ears, rather they are predominantly the type of bands people like to describe as “angular”, “jagged” or anything that insinuates rough edges or—perhaps oxymoronically—a regulated discontinuity. But they are “lighter” in that there is a greater variety of sonic tonality, ranging from gentle instrumental passages to ecstatic screaming frenzy. The rhythm sections in particular tend towards the propulsive, composing their own riffs instead of merely providing a steady backdrop for guitars and vocals. This, perhaps, is the major differentiation between those below and a “purer” form of pop-influenced rock music. Continue reading
• Why did I decide, in just my second post on mathematics in rock music, to discuss one of most alienating forms of extreme metal? I really have no idea. Mostly it comes down to the fact that I had made a long list of bands and, as I sorted them, these fellas just ended up here. And by “fellas” I mean it. Females are notably absent from this realm and the reasons for this have weighed on my mind for years now (A friend and former roommate, Mary Iatropolous, attempted a rudimentary study of this phenomenon and her conclusions were both obvious and obscure). It’s a discussion well worth continuing, unfortunately it will have to be in a future post (thoughts in the comments are more than welcome).
• Death metal, from its roots in thrash and hardcore, was always predicated on superlatives: Who could play fastest, whose sound was “heaviest”, who wrote with the most complexity? This kind of competition, friendly or not, has always been a generative force in art; here, among the most extreme exemplars of metal, we find a synthesis of high and low art. There is no middle-brow here: anti-bourgeois; this is scum divinity, sacred filth; “untouchable” is a word used for only to describe the richest & poorest.
• I need to read Albert Mudrian’s book, Choosing Death.
• Hank, in his post, provides Necrophagist and Cynic as examples of prog/tech metal. The former display an almost inhuman technicality in their music, a legacy that goes back at least to J.S. Bach (and likely farther). Personally, I find Cynic to be a terribly cheesy abomination, like walking into a Guitar Center wank-a-thon. Where Necrophagist plays brutal video-game soundtracks, Cynic exhibit the worst indulgences (overwrought melodies, too-sleek production, operatic vocals) of ’70s prog-rock and never get heavy. But that’s just me, for contemporaries I prefer Atheist.
• I tend to dislike “genre bands” who follow an established template in their aesthetic. Mix it up, add something of your own. No two people like all the same stuff, so why write like that? The following bands are all ones who’ve taken risks with their sound and, to varying degrees, been successful in their execution…