Battles - Instrumental Techno
I was introduced to Battles a short while ago by my colleague Ce-El-Wan, who unfortunately couldn’t join me this evening. This band has probably jack shit to do with metal, considering that they’re on a dance label called Warp Records and they play music that might be described as intrumental techno or something. Ah well, time for something completely different again!
A glance at the stage showed that Battles wasn’t gonna be your average four-some with one-tune songs. A nice collection of electronics, sampling equipment, keyboards, guitars, microphones and a drumkit was awaiting molestation, and as soon as it began I was so incredibly happy that I went there. I described it as instrumental techno because of the fact that their songs are layered in such a way, only highly complex. It starts with a phat beat that is joined by a keyboard/guitar/bass tune, whatever they’re holding at the moment, and then they store that tune in a delay pedal, so it keeps on going without them having to play it. Do this a couple of times with a couple of instruments and this becomes very interesting. Especially if some kind of harmony is found in the middle of all this cacophonous noise. But goes surprisingly well down the hatch if you ask me, it kind of relaxes while it also stimulates the dancing.
Drummer John Stanier (also from Tomahawk and Helmet fame) proved to be capable of very weird and powerful but grooving beats supporting all those tunes, never growing dull in any way. A bit weird was the fact that he has just one cymbal way high above, so he actually has to look up when hitting it. Also impressing was the fact that two of the string/key players were able to perform a riff on their guitar with one hand while playing a tune on their keys with the other. That’s awesome. The tightness of the band altogether was also on a great level, it really clicked with this group of musicians.