Thursday, September 19, 2002

Part #1 (of a series): Jim's Favorite Musical Genre: Math Rock
Contrary to belief, Math Rock is not the application of SOHCAHTOA set to music. Don't worry about the guitar god's raging hypotenuse. No, Math Rock is an interesting subset within the whole punk/indie universe that explores unique and separate territory. Math Rock is often described as "angular" and combines punk sensibilities with an intelligent, thoughtful approach to the music (Hence the geeky "Math" moniker). Often instrumental or lyrically sparse, Math Rock reveals a motif of intricate drum work and guitar/bass progressions that by and large are centered on delivering "clean" distinct notes with minimal distortion. In fact minimalism is an integral aspect of the Math Rock sound which separates it from more classic punk structures. Oftentimes an analog style sound is incorporated (the buzzing/popping of amps and employment of unclean non-digitized recording/production techniques). Granted, there are times when the distortion attack is laid down by Math Rock bands, but these tend to be interludes or bridges between the stripped down "angular" (non distorted, note distinct) verses. Rhythms are tight in Math Rock and the drums work closely with the bass/guitars to channel the sense of rhythm over melody (with various moments where the drums diverge and the melodies of the bass/guitar take off). This is precise, structured, experimental music. While there are many Math Rock bands out there, one's that I listen to and are fair representatives of the genre are Shellac, Arcwelder, and Lumen, and A Minor Forest.

Selected Math Rock MP3 Selections
Shellac: "Watch Song"
Arcwelder: "Do Something Right"
Lumen: (Movement: I)
A Minor Forest: "John Gets Leftovers Again"


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