Math Rock – Michael Chen

I have to admit that the explanations of math rock I’ve heard in lecture, and the ones I’ve read (one of which is linked, though Wikipedia probably isn’t the best source…) do not make a whole lot of sense to me.  My musical background is limited, despite having spent years attempting to learn  to play an instrument or two;  I could not tell anyone the first thing about composing or modifying music, which probably explains why I do not quite grasp every aspect of math rock.  My understanding is that math rock is composed as a result of using an atypical meter to create precise, unique sounding compositions derived from other genres of rock music.  Gil mentioned something about logic allowing Yoshida to improvise and easily remember the songs he plays, but I have not been able to find a good definitive source explaining.

Regardless of how much sense there is in math rock (or how much sense I can make of math rock), it does combine some aspects of science with art, even though it is somewhat rudimentary, as music involves math even if it is not math rock.  Listening to Yoshida was definitely a different experience; besides the fact that the music was a good ten to twenty decibels too loud for the space, it sounded like nothing I had ever heard before.  Granted, I definitely could detect some influence from various other genres of rock- metal, prog rock, and punk rock- but the sounds were a different animal to behold and take in.  The sounds were eerie and not always particularly pleasing, yet interesting to listen to.  I think I would need to attain a greater understanding of the works before I enjoy math rock, but I doubt I would turn down listening to it if I had another chance to see an artist perform live.


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