Out West, the final installation in Space Blood’s Math & Atlases compilation series, brings together math rock talent West of the Mississippi. As always the first track is a bombastic welcome from Space Blood. The song, ‘I Can’t Stop Seeing Creed’, is a delay-heavy 11/8 groove that evolves into a polyrhythmic interpretation of 6/8, as this rowdy duo is wont to do. Cascading tom fills and minimalistic congas from drummer William Covert accentuate the rhythmic layers of Sam Edgin’s bass loops.
CRTTRZ introduce their blend of instrumental math-rock with, “Rippy Dippy”. Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, this refreshing trio revolves around their driving bass lines, catchy guitar riffs, and frequent stops that lead to new chord progressions and finger-tapping. The spontaneity of CRTTRZ’s sound is uniquely fascinating and vaguely familiar to other instrumental bands like Piglet, Via Luna, and Enemies.
An atmospheric guitar loop greets listeners to the third track, ‘Riverburn’, by Chipper Jones. Flowing with acute precision between polyphonic guitar parts and crisp drums, the track gradually evolves to a mesmerizing symphony of delay and reverb that sounds akin to Brontide. This Texan duo emits an astonishingly large, post-rockish sound via loops, remaining tight and musical fluidity.
Traveling further West, the compilation’s fourth track comes from Colorado’s STRESSED, a three-piece outfit whose monotone vocals, distorted guitars, and dynamic yet heavy drums lends their sound to a more punk aesthetic. Their disjunct chords and slight atonal tendencies are somewhat reminiscent of groups like Shellac and Slint.
Math and Atlases: Out West ends with ‘Spring Forward’ by Hikes, a rambunctious quartet releasing an undeniably catchy barrage of finger-tapping melodies, head-bobbing drum parts, and memorable lyrics. This distinct mesh of genres is described by Hikes as, “nature-inspired indie math-rock with a dash of folk”. The contemplative tone of their music and complex song structuring sounds a tad like Rooftops or TTNG.
Boasting a vast array of math-rock related music from bands that have multiple states or even oceans between them, these Math & Atlases compilations are examples of the internet bringing musicians and music-lovers closer together. Thanks to the curators, Space Blood, math-rock fans from many different places will be introduced to new, genre-bending music that can be as close as their backyard or as far as overseas.
Experimental, math rock, two-piece, instrumental, folk, punk, mixed bags