Thursday, November 12, 2009

#46. 65daysofstatic - The Fall of Math (Monotreme, 2004)

Negative energy just makes me stronger...we will not retreat, this band is unstoppable!

Somewhere along the line there stopped being new genres of music. You could argue that no genre is truly 'new' in that everything grows out of something older as opposed to finding its own sonic signifiers. Hell you could write it like the bible, where Blues begat Rock and Rock begat Metal and each of those nebulous headers fractured to the point where there would seem to be a specific subgenre for every band to ever form, but somewhere along the line it became less about evolution and more about synthesis. Any sort of revolutionary sounding band that's come about in the time I've been musically conscious hasn't exactly reinvented the rulebook so much as they've taken two different rulebooks, ripped out half the pages of each and hastily glued them together into something new and somewhat exciting. What I'm trying to say is that a band like 65daysofstatic doesn't innovate beyond a simple fusion of IDM and the heavier side of post rock, but the results are as close as we came this decade to a new sound, one that wasn't just a rehash of what was done 25 years ago or what had been done for the past 40 years with erratic results. Synthesis in the new innovation, and you'll be hard pressed to find a better example of that than The Fall of Math.

It probably helps that the quartet had, in various forms, been honing this type of thing for a few years before their debut hit the streets. I haven't heard much of their early out put, but since they were attached to that first wave of mash-ups that took the internet by storm in the wake of "A Stroke of Genie-Us" it's not surprising that they took a quasi-mashup approach to their original music. At times throughout The Fall of Math it sounds like the band are trying to build a mash-up of Squarepusher's more frantic moments and any number of dynamically inclined alternative rockers, and more often than not the results are fascinating. The lack of vocals also helps, forcing your attention to the intricacies of each moving part within the songs; the way the programmed drumming interacts with the live drums, how the electronics are integrated between the waves of guitar and bass, how effortlessly the band shifts from chiming, restrained guitar work to an outright assault of downtuned guitars and bass that would do any number of modern rock bands proud. 65daysofstatic aren't necessarily doing anyhting new with The Fall of Math, but the way the two sides of the bands sound are integrated is more than enough to guarantee them a place in my mental pantheon of most exciting bands to come out of the 00s.

You may have noticed that although they're mostly referred to as a post-rock band I've been a bit gunshy in using that particular term here. That's basically because of all the genres that could be applied here I don't think post-rock does anything to describe what 65days are doing. Outside of the fact that its instrumental and has a helping of dynamic tension akin to the genre, the rest of the sound, and especially the fact that it keeps it s songs in the 5 minute range for the most part seem to fly in the face of whatever post rock has come to mean in the last little while. It certainly owes a bigger debt to Aphex Twin than to Mogwai, and though it is rock music that doesn't really fit into the rock sphere that has more to do with its electronic underpinnings than any post-ness associated with it. The dynamics aren't even gone about in a remotely post-rock sense, but in more of a frenetic stop-start motion where crescendos last seconds yet the results are just as impressive. I've already gone on at length about the wondrous "Hole" taking advantage of that sort of twist on the post-rock modus operendi but there's plenty of other instances where the band do even more with their slant on the genre. The title track effortlessly shifts between calm, purely electronic segments and crushing, drum machine powered blasts of aggression, almost turning on a dime every 5 seconds during its first minute or so yet never sounding awkward about it. Really each individual song is a small scale masterpiece of how to effectively integrate the electronic and the rock sides of 65daysofstatic's sound without either one completely overshadowing the other while using the combination to carry the music to heights that few bands in any genre could ever reach.

No comments: