Over ten years ago, a new sub-genre of instrumental-based music formed in the underground called “glitch music.” A mix of electronica, industrial music and other digital noises and ambient sounds, it’s been a field without a big name, until perhaps now.
65daysofstatic, on tour with alt-rock icons The Cure this year, may bring the glitch-rock genre its most exposure yet, not only via the band’s much heralded live shows, but with the ridiculously long-delayed 2008 U.S. pressing of its critically acclaimed 2004 debut CD The Fall of Math (Monotreme Records). Sure, the band has released a couple of albums (and EPs) since then, including 2006’s One Time For All Time and last year’s The Destruction of Small Ideas record. But The Fall of Math is what put this band on the map, and until this past spring, was only available as an import in these United States.
These England natives are a complex, experimental band with a penchant for dreamy sections of post-rock music. But they can simultaneously be unpredictable too, as they often go from off-beat, CD-skipping-like sounds to hard-hitting instrumental rock (a la Mogwai) before you know it. Speaking of odd sounds, the album starts out with a loud humming noise that’s the equivalent of the sound you get if you accidentally leave your electric guitar’s instrument cable half-plugged-in to its socket. This brief tune, “Another Code Against The Gone” then gets going strong with its fuzzy, noisy drums, sampled vocals and other digital creations before easing into the epic, “Install A Beak In The Heart That Clucks Time In Arabic.” Its downbeats and quiet piano licks slowly give way to soaring guitars and booming bass guitar that get progressively heavy and at times dissonant, creating a small amount of tension that gets released during the song’s loudest and heaviest moments. Despite its odd title, this is one of my favorites on the album.
The glorious “Retreat! Retreat!” is probably 65daysofstatic’s most well-known song, with its yearning guitars, punishing cymbal and drum blasts, and apparently self-confident vocal sample of someone saying, “This band is unstoppable.” Comparatively, it’s like M83-meets-Explosions In The Sky, especially the second half of the tune.
Elsewhere, palm-muted guitar riffs and melodies are interspersed with a frenzy of off-beat drum lines and glitched beats on the quiet-loud title track. Also, the sudden burst of distorted drums ‘n’ beats that appear between quiet piano touches on “Default This” sound like a recent Nine Inch Nails interlude. Another standout is “Hole,” with its glitchy clicks and clacks, urgent guitar rushes and harmonic melodies.
In all, The Fall of Math is the type of record that takes risks, pushes boundaries, and all the while is extremely listenable, even with the myriad of sounds 65dos crams into its tracks. The group’s quiet-loud songwriting style means that some songs take more time than others to kick into high gear (ex. “Fix The Sky A Little”), but your patience is almost always rewarded here.
So now that you don’t have to buy this record as an import any longer (for those of us in America), do yourself a favor and grab a copy of 65daysofstatic’s Fall of Math CD, for it is a truly adventurous and rewarding listening for all those who enjoy experimental, yet highly structured instrumental (glitch) rock music.
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