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Math Rock - A Genre You May Enjoy


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I've mentioned a few math-rock bands in a post-rock thread long back and yes, there are similarities but not always the case.

If your listening repertoire only consists of simple 3-chords and timely unaltered tempos, then I suggest to clean the wax out of your ear and be diversified! :P :cool:

Anyway, to describe Math-Rock in simple terms - well, take progressive musicianship (and in most cases, well pioneered and ably talented at his/her instrument), maybe some abstract jazz here and there, etc., etc. do you see the picture? But don't let it stray you away for at times, it's a challenging listen. For example, it keeps you anticipating what direction/flow the tune will follow.

I will make note though that I do agree on some tunes when there's an actual pleasing melody that you wish would outstay it's welcome.

Here's a few bands to check out and hopefully I find their myspace and listen to some tunes.


Auto!Automatic!! - especially listen to "4182333461... Dance!" - one of my favourites from the band.

The next two have 'metal' elements so hold on...

Canvas Solaris - give a listen to "Berserker Hypothesis" and if doesn't knock your socks off, well, you're not paying attention! :) Anyway, it's the album opener to 'Canvas Solaris' for which I own and rate 4/5 stars.

Scale the Summit - listen to "Rode in on Horseback" and "Shaping the Clouds." The latter is the album opener of 'Monument', another 4/5 stars album.

Well, lots more and I'll mention if any interest. Enjoy!


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Looks like Chris is right:

Whereas most rock music uses a basic 4/4 beat (however accented or syncopated), math rock frequently uses asymmetrical time signatures such as 7/8, 11/8, or 13/8, or features constantly changing meters based on various groupings of 2 and 3. This rhythmic complexity, seen as "mathematical" in character by many listeners and critics, is what gives the genre its name. Musically, math rock derives from other rock genres, including rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, and punk rock.
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A very large percentage of popular songs use common time signatures, which is partly why I tend to enjoy those that don't use 2/4 or 4/4, eg:

Nothing Else Matters - Metallica (6/8)

Money - Pink Floyd (7/8, or very fast 21/8, depending on how you look at it)

Supper's Ready - Genesis (partly in 9/8)

Tom Sawyer - Rush (partly in 7/8)

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purely by chance I found the 7+ min version :angel: and I like it... a lot (more than the other song) :coolio:

and while I can see that some people would be "irritated", seeing as I'm someone who can listen to Mouse on Mars or The Avalanches, I'm really not a stranger to weird music :grin: :jester:

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Battles album "Mirrored" is one of the best new albums I've heard this year. I've heard Battles described as math-rock, or something like.

I don't know if this is the best example I could have provided of their "math-rock" features, but have a look anyway: "Tonto" - Battles (from the album "Mirrored")

Whoas. I'm really digging the light choreography in the vid, but the music is pas mal too.

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Here's an opinion from a somewhat "older" ear :grin:

I listened to some of these (I really liked the Battles selections). If I were younger and had the inclination to really spend the time, I'd probably like most of this music. To my mind you have to "train your ear" to this type of music. I liken it somewhat to freeform jazz, and, more in terms of music I understand and enjoy, Captain Beefheart, and to some extent Zappa. There again, to enjoy a lot of that music, you have to train your ear.

For the most part I enjoy music that is more melodic (I think that's the word I'm looking for), but again if I took the time to listen and retrain my ears, I could easily learn to like some of this Math Rock.

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Rush is often credited with inventing math rock, because of their odd time shifts and technical musicianship.

I don't think that's correct but I'm not one to argue. :content:

If you wanted to be technical about it and stay within the 'rock' genre, you could go as far back as King Crimson's early albums. Even Frank Zappa.

I don't know the exact origins but I wouldn't be surprised that it evolved from jazz, primarily 'bebop', but not the 'chord and scale confinements' within bebop. Maybe 'Improvised Jazz' would be a better moniker in this case.

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Naughty Number Nine

Schoolhouse Rock

Number Nine will put you on the spot.

Number Nine will tie you up, oh, in a knot.

When you're tryin'

Multiplyin' by nine,

You might give it everything you've got

And still be stopped.

If you don't know some secret way you

can check on,

You'll break your neck on

Naughty Number Nine.

Now the first thing to keep in mind

When you're multiplyin' by nine

Is that it's one less than ten.

You see nine is the same as ten minus one.

So you could multiply your number by ten,

And then subtract the number from the result,

And you'd get the same product

As if you'd multiplied by nine

And you knew it.

I mean 8 x 9 is 80 minus 8,

And 7 x 9 is 70 minus 7, and 6 x 9 is 60 minus 6.

You could use those tricks.

'Cause you must have some secret way you can beat it,

Or else you'll meet it

With Naughty Number Nine.

Of course it doesn't hurt

To know the table of nines by memory.

It goes like this:

1 x 9 is 9, and 2 x 9 is 18.

(Mean Old Number Nine)

3 x 9 is 27, and 4 x 9 is 36,

5 x 9 is 45, and 6 x 9 is 54, and 7 x 9 is 63,

8 x 9 is 72, and 9 x 9 is 81,

And 10 x 9 is 90

Now the digit sum is always equal to nine.

I mean, if you add 2 and 7, the digits,

You get 9, the digit sum.

That's true of any product of 9.

If they don't add up, you've made a mistake.

'Cause you must have some secret way you can check it,

Or else you'll wreck it

With naughty, nasty, mean old Number Nine.

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