BBC Home

Explore the BBC

1st August 2015
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

features /  music feature
editor content by: editor
battles session
battles session
watch battles interview
watch battles perform live at atp 2005
listen to 
listen to FULL tracks
real player to access audio and video on collective you need real player.
The art of war.

As with much in life, Battles are, you know, complicated. Shifting time-signatures, multi-layered guitar lines and a family history that would make Woody Allen balk - three members (John Stanier, Ian Williams, Dave Konopka) have a metal/thrash-core background, while the fourth Tyondai Braxton is an avant-garde jazzman. Which, granted, sounds like a recipe for nightmarish art-toss, but it’s actually lithe, rhythmic and groovy art-toss.

It was once more complicated. Drummer, John Stanier: “Originally we had a choir of eight girls. They hung out all over the stage and sang melodies. It was hard enough to get them all in the same room, much less to a rehearsal space in Brooklyn.” “And of course,” he adds gnomically, “touring was completely out of the question.”

For a more illuminating family tree see their website, but all you really need to know is that this NY quartet’s debut, EP C/B EP, is one of the more idiosyncratic records you’ll hear this year. Compiled from their previous single releases and arriving on the back of a must-see live rep, the album is a neat summation of former operations. Dave: “We did the EPs just to tour. We’d play for free. In the middle of the night. But in retrospect the album sounds great.”

And live is where they excel - check Ty’s jaw-dropping beatbox on Dance or John’s cymbal – positioned top-shelf high. Is it to delay every crash by a few nanoseconds? Or does it just look cool? John: “I certainly don’t want to be one of those bands who are great live, but nobody is into their records. Like a jam band where it’s (adopts gnarly voice), ‘You have to see them live maan, it’s totally different.’ I want the record to have that impact as well.”

James Cowdery 02 February 06
Battles - EP C/B EP, released 06 February 06 on Warp.
Read members' comments related to this music.

related info
note: The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
see also
atp 2005

new talent 06


music archive
Watch music sessions and interviews from 2002 to 2008.

books and comics archive
Author interviews and reviews from 2002 to 2008.
radio 1
radio 1

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy