the departure of Tyondai Braxton has effected BATTLES' sound in the
least, that's news to me. Admittedly, I haven't spent enough time with
their newish LP, Gloss Drop, to really make a statement regarding its validity in comparison to Mirrored,
which was on some other shit entirely. But when placed alongside
material from the debut in a live setting, as it was last night at
Royale, their new stuff holds its own.
Braxton left the band, so did his wholly unique vocal contributions.
And instead of the next best singer in the group stepping up to the
plate, the remaining members made the far more intelligible move of
recruiting a cast of guest vocalists, which includes tech-house minimalist
Matias Aguayo, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Yamantaka Eye of Boredoms,
and motherfucking Gary Numan. For this tour, they had each of those
contributors record a video of them singing their lyrics. Played back in
combination with an Enter the Void-esque
light display and the band's tendency to absolutely mash their
instruments in the best way possible, it was rather easy to overlook the
absence of the forlorn enigmatic guitarist.
Above video is some phlipcam footage of "Atlas." Evidence that the old material sounds just as menacing as it ever did.
worth a mention is WALLS, the opening duo who glossed over the ballroom
real nice with their fresh take on spatial techno. Their new album is
streaming over here
and it's just as beautiful as the cover suggests. I would've taken some
video of their set, but it was a two guys playing guitar and fidling
with gadgetry in the dark. Close your eyes and listen to the stream.
You'll get the idea.