(photo by gregoryperez)
A Joy, the opening track from Four Tet's last album (Everything Ecstatic) seems to be a popular choice for remixers, as evidenced by no less than four different versions on one disc. And so to today's choice, by popular beat combo, Battles. Battles are from New York and they have an excellent drummer. This is literally the level of my knowledge of the band. So, I dig.
It's kind of unusual to see a drummer credited first on a lineup, but it turns out that this is with good reason. John Stanier was a member of Helmet until their acrimonious split in 1998. He's currently a member of Battles alongside being in The Mark Of Cain and Tomahawk. Good going on the avant garde front, nice. Helmet, of course, rocked, like, hard. Wikipedia's always fun for these sorts of things, and states that despite having a drum corps background, he "never actually marched a summer season." Some things are so totally American to make absolutely no sense outside of the continent. I have heard great things about Battles live based solely on the drum skillz of John Stanier.
The rest of Battles is Ian Williams, formerly of math legends Don Caballero, Dave Konopka formerly of Lynx (now, I've no idea if this Lynx is the same as Fame Academy's David Grant; I somehow doubt it), and Tyondai Braxton, offspring of avant-jazz hippy Anthony Braxton. A fine pedigree then, and no doubt about it, some interesting music. Battles is occasionally glitchy (all good) but more often focuses on the sort of hyper-edited sampling that Four Tet often employs, creating a sound not far akin to what you might if you knew nothing of, say, a Stockhausen/Reich collaboration before hearing it.
Well, sometimes anyway. Battles seem a far more diverse proposition than a single comparison can suggest, running the gamut from hyper-kinetic electronica to mathy guitar rock. You can see their range just from the four tracks on MySpace, which I highly recommend you check out. I particularly like Dance - while the other tracks seem to have been given names from the Autechre school of song titles, Dance suggests dancing. yet the irony is that if you were to dance to Dance, you'd do yourself a serious injury, such is the spasmodic and continually shifting percussion and samples.
Battles are a band worth looking further into, and you can rest assured that at some point, I surely will. A good starting point would seem to be their Warp debut, EP C/B EP, which is a collation of their earlier, more obscure releases from the last couple of years. I've also posted a little Floridian hardcore, in the form of Page Hamilton's angry yelp, backed of course by M. Stanier's awesome drum battery. Rocking.
Four Tet - A Joy (Battles remix)
Battles - Dance
Helmet - In The Meantime
Teqnicolor presents: Battles in session
Website: bttls.com; MySpace
Recommended: EP C/B EP
More: Hype Machine; elbo.ws
If you like this you might like: Tomahawk - s/t
Tags: remix; Four Tet; Battles; Tomahawk; Helmet; John Stanier