65daysofstatic – The Fall Of Math
Although it was released eleven years ago I only discovered this album, and band, a couple of years ago. I bought a vinyl copy of ‘The Fall Of Math’ just because I’d heard one track on a Spotify playlist, which I’d liked. To be honest, when I first put needle to vinyl I thought I was going to regret the purchase as the opening seconds are really quite a difficult listen, but it soon calms down a bit and becomes more what I was hoping for.
In recent years I have become quite enamoured with music that is somewhat cinematic, which I think hails way back to ludicrously complicated prog-rock instrumental breaks, and, quite possibly, early Mike Oldfield. There was a time when I had a strong preference for a traditional song structure, something with verses and a recognisable chorus, but this evolved over time and I would listen to things like Yes, Gentle Giant or Genesis and really quite enjoy all the noodling about and strange time signatures, up to a point, it was sometimes just a bit too much.
While it might want to disassociate itself from Prog-Rock, a lot of this Post-Rock does share elements with it, although it would seem 65daysofstatic are in a separate genre, namely Math-Rock, but genres can get a bit silly when they are too defined, I think they should be rather loose. Ultimately, it’s all Rock. So the difference between Prog and Post, as far as I can hear, is structure and complexity. Prog often has a very complicated structure and much noodling, whereas Post is often less complicated in structure with less noodling about. Post is, in a way, minimalist by comparison, even though it can sound complicated, it is often the same chords, building up, and being layered upon by other instruments. It also doesn’t seem to have a problem with drawing in certain techniques from other genres and sub-genres.
Now to get back to the band and album, The Fall of Math was their debut album, released on September 20, 2004 through Monotreme. It contains what is arguably still their most famous track, “Retreat! Retreat!” which was one of two singles released from the album, the other being “Hole”, which was a 7 track EP coming in at 30 minutes in length.
The band, from Sheffield, formed in 2001 as a three-piece, consisting of Joe Shrewsbury, Paul Wolinski, and Iain Armstrong. The line-up of the band has changed over the years, and they have been a five piece at points, but also had members of other bands join them for live shows to expand their ranks.
This debut album is, in many ways, a bit of a mish mash of influences, but coherently so. Take some Kraftwerk, Boards of Canada, Explosions in the Sky, Aphex Twin and Mogwai, amongst other possible ingredients, and bake until you have The Fall Of Math. There are electronics, computer noises, chunky live drums, towering crescendos, delicate silence and sparkly interludes. If you can get past the opening fingernails down blackboard noise of the first 15 or so seconds, then you will find many delights beyond.
There were a couple of official videos released for the singles and these are below followed by a full ‘In Concert’ performance, though not specifically of tracks only from this album. “PlayStation Experience attendees were treated to this exclusive No Man’s Sky concert, featuring visuals from the upcoming PS4 space odyssey and music from indie band 65daysofstatic. Featuring a special retrospective introduction from developer Hello Games.”
Here is the entire album provided by Spotify: