Berlin’s mOck has to be one of the most promising trios in the global math rock scene, not to mention a perfect recapitulation of early US math rock. There is a bit of restraint in their approach; they allow sections to unfold rather then rocket into existence. Adopting clean, natural tones and cleverly using the art of displacement, the band evokes a haunting jazziness akin to older math rock acts like Slint, Rodan and Shellac.
Their recent hallmark, Components EP, reaffirms their nostalgic approach. Often using implication and anticipation as a vehicle, the EP drives a peculiar ambiguity, and has so many pockets of unpredictable surprises. Their use of 5:4, 9:8 and 11:8 meters lets mOck push limits and fuel more unexpected dysfunction. The bass tone is so important in this band’s unique and lush sound, and is often the centerfold of the more delicate soundscapes.
The post-punk flavors really dominate over other influences within the bands opening track, ‘Poitou’, and evolve into familiar math rock territory. With a relatively clean guitar tone, the finger picking that establishes itself within the gyrative pulse has a TTNG refinement and Slint-style arrangement. Mind-bending technique and beautiful harmonics add to the linkages of the intricate finger work. ‘Leiden, NL’ has a more funky vibe and plays catch-up with push-pull dynamics. ‘Singh’, explores more adventurous instrumentation, and is guided by the inspirations of syncopation and deformity. The tapping explores some very disjunctive and swift tempo disruptions that put a crooked smile on my face. Components EP closes with ‘Max Karl’, a bedroom latin-y piece which has the most textural approach to song writing thus far. The composition falls into some great hip-hop grooving within a Vasudeva or The Smiths style swagger.
Components EP is a beautiful pastiche of 90’s math rock. Its basic constructs expand into imaginative and profound tales, much like the work produced by the great figureheads of this time. With a limited run of vinyls, it’s one to grab as soon as possible.