Album review: WAKING AIDA – Eschaton

Waking Aida - Eschaton

Robot Needs Home Records – Release Date: 2 June 2014

OK, I admit it. I’m thrashing about in utter confusion these days trying to understand all the weird and wonderful names given to various genres of music.

Post-rock, neo-prog, jazz-fusion – I just shrug my shoulders with a vacant look on my face.

Now here’s Southampton-based band Waking Aida treating us to their brand of what’s apparently called ‘Math Rock’.

According to Wiki, math rock ‘is a rhythmically complex style of experimental and indie rock characterised by complex, atypical rhythmic structures, counterpoint, odd time signatures, etc…’ Zzzzzz…

Shrug. Vacant look.

The good news is that it’s much more interesting to listen to than read about.

The Wiki description is a good starting point but doesn’t really do the music justice.

Essentially instrumental (although with a few vocal samples) the band lay down lush soundscapes as a base, over which are layered intricate, staccato guitar melodies that weave their way through the subtle yet complex electronics and into the listener’s subconscious.

Together with the aforementioned time signature changes and some exceptional drumming, the music rises and falls with exuberance throughout to impart a real ‘feel-good’ ambience to the whole thing.

Eight tracks in all and, with the exception of the 48 seconds of forgettable hum of opener ‘Intro’, nothing clocks in at less than five minutes which gives the band plenty of time to develop each track and to essentially let the music breathe.   

With track titles such as ‘How To Build A Space Station’, ‘Time Travel With Friends’ and ‘This Isn’t Even My Final Form’ it would be easy to think this was just a bunch of smart-arses re-interpreting their parents’ Hawkwind collection.

Not so – this is well thought out, intelligent music full of dreamy undertones fleshed out with angular hooks and played with a joie de vivre that belies its rather spartan genre name. 

Maths was never so much fun.

****

Review by Alan Jones


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