A Minor Forest, Inindependence

A Minor Forest, Inindependence

A common term used to describe the music of A Minor Forest is “math rock.” Apart from the fact that this term has been applied to numerous bands that have vastly different styles, I dislike it because it implies that all math is identical. Which, is of course, ludicrous. The math of balancing one’s checkbook is very different from geometry, which, in turn, is very different from calculus, and so on. Terms like “math rock” are silly because they oversimplify one type of music by oversimplifying another field of work at the same time.

If I did have to pick the type of math that AMF sound like, it would be what I think is called planar geometry — at any rate, the type of math where various curves such as cardioids and lemniscates are drawn on a plane. It’s an important distinction — whereas other “math rock” bands chug away like they’re solving a series of complex equations (“Okay, we’ve done the 17/8 part for 13 measures, now let’s play in 5/4 for 11 measures, and then …”), AMF manage to bridge their compositions nicely, so that the listener moves gradually from one extreme to another without noticing the transition. A nice trick, and an all too infrequently used one. Anyway, any fan of complex time signatures will like this, of course, but its appeal is broader — they really just plain rock, and apart from a couple of bits of abstruseness here and there (the fake “oh my god my speakers are blown” effect in “The Smell of Hot,” naming a song “…it’s salmon !!!,” etc.), you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to “get it.” I’d include a Venn diagram to explain, but Jeremy’d probably kill me. [Ed. Note: Nah. I’d only maim you.]

(Thrill Jockey Records -- P.O. Box 476794, Chicago, IL. 60647; )
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Monday, March 1st, 1999. Filed under Reviews.

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