Boomkat Product Review:
Breathtakingly unique dust'n'bones drone-folk-noize workouts from Minnesota trio Maths Balance Volumes, who accurately paint a painful picture of 2020 while refusing to ignore the past, cramming harrowing folk and blues wails into ghostly shells of genre-agnostic experimentation. A late highlight of a trying year.
Billed as "music for a world in which things have never been okay", Maths Balance Volumes' latest album "A Year Closer" sounds shockingly resonant as we prepare to close out twelve months that have shifted the cultural landscape for the foreseeable future. The Minnesota outfit have been recording since 2002 and have dropped a slew of records on labels like Chocolate Monk and KYE, but their music has never sounded so in tune with the global mood. The trio drift spectrally between the past, present and future, never relying on prettiness or resting on overdone signifiers. So when they use elements of American folk and blues it sounds like a conversation with the past - warts and all - rather than an attempt to paper over their country's awkward, guilty history.
At times, it sounds like the dying gasp of New Weird America coughing through lo-bitrate Limewire experiments; at others, it's more like Tortoise at dusk jamming with Florian Fricke, barely audible over kettle squeals and tape hiss. Instruments are blurred and indistinct (is it a bass? a guitar? a bottle? a sample?), voices are sung and spoken, sometimes sampled, sometimes screamed. Genres are approached, but nothing is sacred: every element is disintegrated within an inch of its life until only effigies remain.
Somehow "A Year Closer" brings these last few months into focus without feeling like a mournful lament, lashing together spirituality, history, sound and politics without falling into nostalgia, scolding or repetition. Unmissable, really.