It’s been a whole year since Delta Sleep released their sophomore album Ghost City. Insincere exclamations of how quickly the time passed aside, in this time, Delta Sleep have enjoyed transatlantic success and found themselves no longer having to play the early slots of sweaty math rock all-day festivals confined to the gloomy and oppressive basements of Shoreditch bars.
Adding odd meters and angular riffs to indie rock is like sprinkling chilli on your chocolate ice cream. Conceptually, it seems problematic; they are simply different elements. But, when blended well, it's a delectable and slightly bewildering sensory experience.
It’s hard not to gush about Town Portal, whose three albums thus far have blended sludge, post-metal and math rock into a riffy, angular soup. The three-piece has ever excelled at dark, moody music based on hypnotic rhythmic interplay between bright guitar, tight drum grooves and earthy, thudding basslines. Seriously, just listen to these basslines.
Math rock is a genre of excess, of indulgence. It is a genre that, due to the weight of its complexity and technicality, is susceptible to becoming overwhelming in the average listener. So often it is that the listener becomes lost, cast away from the musical narrative and this, unfortunately, makes the genre susceptible to not being taken seriously...
In this article, we pick apart the historical and descriptive aspects of what defines 'math rock', and explore when and where the iconic sound changed it's style. By doing this, we can attempt to answer a fundamental question: was Soundgarden math rock?
In 2016, Feed Me Jack released their magnum opus Ultra Ego and subsequently called it quits. The album proved to be the most bittersweet of swansongs; it took the ears and hearts of math rockers worldwide. Just as their destinies as a game-changing band became a likelihood, the project came apart. Here was a band that was in touch with the delicate balance between technicality and emotion. And then 'here' turned to 'there'.