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battles session
battles session
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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.
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battles
new talent 06

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