Saturday, May 19, 2007

Battles - Mirrored

beep, boop, boop, crash, beep, loop, fwount,bang, beep, boop, loop, sing, sing, beep, boop,thanks you've been a wonderful audience

A few weeks ago I told you about how wonderful I thought the band Battles' new single; Atlas was.
Starting off with a huge sound, working every instrument into the mix, weird time signatures, instruments out of phase. Then the vocals kick in and add another level of instrumentation (someone less in love with the track would point out the slight similarities with the Chipmonks and the Battles vocoder affected vocals, but that wouldn't be me)
The track pegs along for the first stunning and complex 3 minutes and then breaks into a long and complicated deconstruction acting as the bridge.
At which point I hand you over to Warren Ellis, who posted about Battles yesterday:

But "Atlas," I contend, will end up being one of the great singles ofthe year, and the probable apotheosis of math rock. Ty Braxton's voice -- and I'm sure he's singing some bollocks about people and sandwiches, but it doesn't matter -- finally becomes another instrument in the mix. Even vocoded,it gives authentic human presence to the awesomely complex mathematical progressions of the piece. There's ten seconds right in the middle of the thing, around the five minute mark, towards the end of the fantastically deconstructed bridge, where everyone finally achieves the same time signature,and it's magical.

Of course, following something as ear lovingly delightful as Atlas, it was going to be a minor miracle to produce an entire cd full of tracks of equal quality. The cd flags after the halfway point and begins to emulate the worst in jazz noodlings and really loses it's way.

So all in all, Battles has most likely provided the single of the year and will definitely be appearing on the annual Bruton Mansions Christmas card cd this year. But taken as a whole Mirrored is a small disappointment. Genius, but certainly flawed. Which is why being in the modern world is so good, because only half the tracks from Mirrored are going to be staying on the I-pod and I'll have a perfect mini album rather than a flawed debut.